Wi-Fi 7 en Route: Qualcomm Unveils Wi-Fi 7 Immersive Home Platforms
The new platform will use Qualcomm’s multi-link mesh technology to lower latency and increase throughput.
Today, the wireless communication industry continues innovating at a torrent pace, with one of the next big technologies in the pipeline being Wi-Fi 7. In anticipation of the technology, Qualcomm announced a new Wi-Fi 7 Immersive Home Platform on Dec. 13.
Qualcomm Wi-Fi 7 Immersive Home Platform. Image courtesy of Qualcomm
In this article, we’ll discuss the bandwidth implications of Wi-Fi 7, Qualcomm’s purpose-built platform, and some of the hardware underlying it.
What is Wi-Fi 7?
Wi-Fi 7, formally known as IEEE 802.11be, is the next innovation in Wi-Fi technology. Expected to be released in 2024, the Wi-Fi 7 standard brings a number of new features that mark significant upgrades over existing Wi-Fi 6/E offerings.
One of the most noteworthy upgrades of Wi-Fi 7 is an entirely new band of spectrum in the 6 GHz band. Specifically, the 6 GHz band will have a channel width of 320 MHz in Wi-Fi 7—double that of Wi-Fi 6/E—while also providing 2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz bands.
Evolution of Wi-Fi to Wi-Fi 7. Image courtesy of TP-Link
One way to achieve these bandwidths is to introduce a multi-link operation in Wi-Fi 7. While modern chipsets can use several links simultaneously, the links are currently independent of one another. Wi-Fi 7 multi-link can synchronize these links, allowing chipsets with Wi-Fi 7 to efficiently use channel resources. With this technology, Wi-Fi 7 devices can combine portions of the 6 GHz and 5 GHz bands to achieve higher data rates and extremely low latency.
Other new Wi-Fi 7 technologies include automated frequency coordination (AFC) and 4K QAM modulation. Together, these technologies will help Wi-Fi 7 achieve a maximum theoretical full bandwidth of 461.Gbps (16x16).
Qualcomm’s Wi-Fi 7 Immersive Home Platform
While Wi-Fi 7 is not on the market yet, the industry is racing to create Wi-Fi 7-compatible devices. This week, Qualcomm announced its Wi-Fi 7 Immersive Home Platform to help power the next generation of residential Wi-Fi 7 networking gear.
The platform, which is currently being sampled for manufacturers of home routers and mesh Wi-Fi systems, consists of two new chipsets: the 3210 Platform and the 326 Platform. The 3210 is a 10-stream, tri-band Wi-Fi 7 chipset powered by a 1.5 GHz quad-core Cortex-A53 Arm processor and a specialized Packet Processing Engine for networking acceleration and QoS traffic management. This chipset can achieve a peak capacity of 20 Gbps. The 326 is a similar offering, but only provides a maximum of six streams and a peak capacity of 10 Gbps.
Qualcomm's new platform uses high-band, simultaneous multi-link. This technology aggregates high bands to provide the lowest latency and highest throughput. Image courtesy of Qualcomm
Both chipsets include Qualcomm’s Multi-Link Mesh technology, which enables up to 3.5x the mesh network capacity, 75% less latency, and up to 2x the device speed compared to Wi-Fi 6 solutions. Additionally, these solutions include fully integrated RF front-end modules, AFC functionality, and 4K QAM support.
The platform is not expected to launch until the second half of 2023, when Netgear, the first customer to adopt the chipset, will use Qualcomm's platform in its Orbi Mesh products.