Kalam Meah, ISP director for TP-Link UK & Ireland Ltd., discusses the benefits that the rollout of WiFi 7 is set to bring to businesses
The new wireless WiFi 7 standard is emerging, and it’s faster and smarter. There’s no denying that advancements in wireless technology are moving quickly.
Now, not long after the release of WiFi 6, the buzz is all about WiFi 7 — or 802.11be as it’s known. The Wi-Fi Alliance estimates that the global economic value of WiFi is expected to reach $5tn by 2025.
The worldwide WiFi market is rapidly expanding, and with that comes a greater pressure on businesses to offer not only the best, but a continually evolving product for consumers.
The first WiFi standard was introduced back in 1997, and it’s come a long way since then. WiFi 7 is a successor to WiFi 6 (802.11ax) and WiFi 6E (802.11ax), which were released in 2019 and 2020, respectively.
The start of the revolution
Back in 2007, the world was a very different place. We had very basic internet, where we could do emails and we could occasionally watch a video on YouTube.
Then came along the introduction of the iPhone, which was the catalyst for a whole slew of new technologies; content provision; more advanced access technology; and an exponential increase in available bandwidth — both wired and wireless. As all these elements grew in adoption, you then had the introduction of WiFi 4, and then WiFi 5. The revolution had begun.
The last ten years have been about getting the information to people as fast as possible, and although some people now complain that we are overloaded with this information avalanche, all the elements of content provision, bearer technology and access methodology are in place.
We’re now at the stage in 2022, where we literally have the sum total of human knowledge at our fingertips.
As we come towards the end of this information revolution, we move into the interaction age. Fewer people watch terrestrial TV and radio is now a very niche area. There has been a shift in the way that people access content and information. Faster access technology with increased bandwidth gets people the content they crave more quickly.
The way people interact with each other has changed, not just on virtual social media platforms but physical interaction.
In the world of commerce, Amazon’s business model is based on the fact that you have hi-bandwidth access to an online catalogue, secure payment systems and high speed logistics all secured on and around GPS and tracking.
Another major change that has come out of the recent global lockdown is that most people’s perception of the internet became “WiFi” and the “availability of WiFi”. The speed & stability of WiFi is now one of the factors that will drive a lot of change that’s going to take place in the future.
WiFi 7 is part of that evolving technology ecosystem that will presage a further massive change.
The rollout of WiFi 7
In practice, WiFi 7 might not be rolled out for another couple of years — especially as many countries have yet to delicense the new 6GHz spectrum for public use. However, it is coming, and so it’s important to plan for this development as plans could progress quicker than we first thought.
In the same way as bigger motorways are built and traffic increases to fill them, faster, more stable WiFi will encourage more usage & users,
and to quote the popular business mantra: “If you build it…they will come….”.
WiFi 7 is a significant improvement over all the past WiFi standards. It uses the same spectrum chunks as WiFi 6/6e, and can deliver data more than twice as fast. It has a much wider bandwidth for each channel as well as a raft of other improvements.
It is thought that WiFi 7 could deliver speeds of 30 gigabits per second (Gbps) to compatible devices and that the new standard could make running cables between devices completely obsolete. It’s now not necessarily about what you can do with the data, but how you actually physically interact with it.
Initially, it will be gamers who will adopt high performance WiFi 7, as the demand for immersive gaming and streaming grows, and you’ll have “immersive technology” becoming dominant with associated additional hardware technology, such as glasses, visors, gloves, and potentially even whole interactive body suits to interact with the data.
Education and healthcare
Technological advancements will galvanise business and social applications as well as in education and telemedicine.
There is going to be a revolution in healthcare, allowing the ability to interact with the data in such a way as to get better diagnosis and better insights of patient care, delivering better patient outcomes.
This area is something that’s going to be revolutionised, not necessarily just with WiFi 7, but as one of the key building blocks.
There will also be advancement in medical education. For instance, as you start to interact with the data, you will be able to have 3D human bodies, enabling students to have a better understanding of human anatomy.
The industry has to keep abreast of the changes that have taken place to understand where the technology is going. They need to know what young people are doing.
These are astounding developments, and just as you in 2010 would not have recognised what 2022 would be like, you will not recognise what’s going to happen by 2030 and beyond.
The technology landscape will have moved on dramatically, and WiFi 7 is an important building block within this movement to give better, more focused content.
The world has changed, and it’s changed because of technology.
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