Connected Britain: OEMs & providers ‘jump the gun’ with Wi-Fi 7 offerings
BT-owned mobile operator EE announced a new partnership with US chip maker Qualcomm last week. The deal will see EE’s home hub customers become some of the first in the world to gain access to future Wi-Fi 7 technology next year.
Qualcomm, an early challenger in the Wi-Fi router market, also announced a similar deal with US cable company Charter Communications on the same date.
“This next generation of Wi-Fi will support the delivery of new experiences, such as fully immersive, ultra-low latency VR, and aligns with our network evolution plan to enable multi-gig wireless connectivity across our entire footprint,” said Dave Rodrian, Charter’s group VP of Wi-Fi Products in a statement.
Speaking at Connected Britain last week, Qualcomm’s SVP and GM of connectivity, broadband and networking, Rahul Patel, said a Wi-Fi 7 deal between his company and another retail OEM was “imminent”.
What is Wi-Fi 7?
The Wi-Fi 6E successor promises peak speeds of up to four times faster broadband, higher data rates, lower latency, and the ability to handle more connected devices — which will come as good news for those set up to work-from-home.
While the benefits might seem obvious, it’s unusual for manufacturers to go to market so early when official certification from standards body IEEE isn’t expected until the second half of 2024.
“The trust in Qualcomm’s execution to be compatible with what the benchmark is going to be is the reason why some OEMs as well as the operators are jumping the gun to go out first in the marketplace to bring the services and experiences that this Wi-Fi protocol offers,” said Patel in his key note.
According to Qualcomm, remote XR application is also set to benefit from the new technology, with 85% latency reductions, 70% jitter reduction, and 65% loss burst reduction. The manufacturer claims that HD video call connecting via Wi-Fi 7 will result in 50% latency reduction and 90% jitter reduction.
TechInformed asked Patel what enterprise use cases he envisioned that would benefit from Wi-Fi 7.
“We see enterprises going down a path where there’s going to be a lot of video conferencing, so that will require a tremendous amount of management of bandwidth. And Wi-Fi 7 would definitely be what the doctor ordered for all the congestion that enterprises face,” he said.
“In terms of VR possibilities, if an architect wants to assimilate and see the entire building that they are constructing or mapping out, or a doctor wants to virtualise what’s happening. You see all these things happening over cloud services. This requires tremendous amounts of bandwidth and low latency and jitter,” he added.
“For this reason, I wouldn’t be surprised to see many enterprise OEMs starting to launch Wi-Fi 7 services in 2024.”
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