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Wi-Fi 7 Brings Multi-Gigabit Speeds Into the Home

Expect to hear more about the latest version of Wi-Fi in the days and months ahead, as equipment manufacturers embrace the standard’s multi-gigabit speeds, improved performance, and quality of service to deliver the power of fiber speeds throughout the home, making the paring of the two technologies a natural and inevitable fit.

“Our two industries are not successful without each other and that’s just reality,” said Kevin Robinson, President and CEO, Wi-Fi Alliance. “Increasingly, you’re starting to see a focus of the Wi-Fi Alliance around improving the quality of service and the customer experience. I know a lot of the fiber organizations are focused on the Wi-Fi customer experience.”

Interoperability of Wi-Fi devices is central to what the Wi-Fi Alliance does, with the Wi-Fi Certified program established to make sure all devices, from access points and gateways to end-user devices, work well together regardless of the manufacturer. As Wi-Fi’s importance and ubiquity have grown over the years, the compatibility ecosystem has grown to encompass service providers, client vendors, enterprise access point manufacturers, and chip manufacturers to test and verify real-world interoperability.

“Another area we’re addressing is integrating complementary technologies,” Robinson said. “Wi-Fi Alliance has strong relationships with organizations like the Connectivity Standards alliance, which manages the Matter ecosystem, and others to make sure that paring Wi-Fi with fiber not only works at the network level but at the application and service layers that live on top of Wi-Fi.”

Wi-Fi 7 is built to handle more demanding applications, such as AR/VR gaming in the home and industrial IoT requirements that flow into fiber. New applications require both higher bandwidth and low latency, two characteristics built into Wi-Fi 7 that make it the optimum pairing with fiber multi-gigabit services that have been limited by the constraints of earlier versions of the wireless standard.

“The marquee feature you hear people talking about is what’s called multilink operation or MLM,” said Robinson. “You’re able to take simultaneous connections in the 2.4, 5, and 6 GHz bands, aggregate those together, and send data packets simultaneously over all three of those bands, increasing capacity. With all three bands available, you start to see amazing speeds approaching 40 gigabits per second with Wi-Fi.”

To learn more about what Wi-Fi is bringing to the table to fiber, tune in to the latest Fiber for Breakfast episode.