The Wi-Fi Alliance has begun its official certification program for wireless devices compatible with its latest Wi-Fi 7 standard, also known as 802.11be, marking an important milestone for potential enterprise users.
The Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 7 program, announced today, means that the lengthy standardization process that the Wi-Fi Alliance goes through for each successive generation of Wi-Fi has reached a fairly stable place. This, in turn, may move the needle somewhat for businesses looking to their next Wi-Fi refresh cycle. The opening of official certification testing means that OEMs can now submit their products to verify that they’re Wi-Fi 7-compliant.
Wi-Fi 7’s key feature is a comparatively simple one – wider channels, expanded from 160Mhz to 320MHz, should enable roughly double the throughput of previous-generation Wi-Fi. It also boasts QAM improvements – from 1024 to 4K, for what the Alliance says will be 20% higher transmission rates, more efficient compression for lower overhead, and multi-link operation, meaning devices can effectively send and receive data over multiple connections at the same time, further boosting performance.
The Wi-Fi Alliance said in an announcement that the certification program would pave the way for broad adoption of the technology.
“Wi-Fi 7 will see rapid adoption across a broad ecosystem with more than 233 million devices expected to enter the market in 2024, growing to 2.1 billion devices by 2028,” the group said.
Wi-Fi 7 is the first unlicensed standard that works natively in the 6GHz band, a comparatively empty chunk of spectrum that wireless experts have long tipped as a key band for allowing much faster connections. (Wi-Fi 6E added 6GHz capability to that standard in 2021.) The ability to have such broad channels are, in part, a function of having plenty of spectrum designated for unlicensed use available.