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With each passing year, gaming experiences have grown richer, more complex, and astonishingly realistic. However, the imminent arrival of Wi-Fi 7 is set to create a technological leap that promises not only to transform the online gaming landscape but to revolutionize it entirely. Imagine a gaming world where lag and connectivity hiccups are a thing of the past, where the line between the physical and the virtual is seamlessly blurred, and where multiplayer experiences can happen on a great scale. Wi-Fi 7 is poised to be the catalyst for unparalleled speed, latency, capacity, and reliability, ushering in an era of connectivity that will propel the boundaries of online gaming to new heights.
Before you can fully appreciate how Wi-Fi 7 will transform the gaming landscape, understanding the progress made in Wi-Fi standards is vital. Wi-Fi 4, the N protocol, was the first standard to improve throughput using multiple input, multiple output (MIMO) technology. Then, Wi-Fi 5, the AC Protocol, marked another substantial advancement in Wi-Fi technology. It brought even faster speeds, increased capacity, and improved performance thanks to features like wider channel bandwidths and more advanced MIMO capabilities. Wi-Fi 6, the AX Protocol, followed with a significant leap in terms of speed, capacity, and efficiency by introducing technologies like orthogonal frequency-division multiple access (OFDMA), which improves the management of multiple devices on a network, reduces latency, and improves overall network efficiency. And more recently, Wi-Fi 6E, an extension of Wi-Fi 6, brought a new dimension by using the unlicensed 6GHz frequency band. This additional spectrum allows for even less interference and congestion, which translates to higher speeds and better performance.
However, while Wi-Fi 6E can offer a significant boost to data rates and can accommodate more devices simultaneously—making it particularly appealing for bandwidth-intensive applications like virtual reality, 4K streaming, and gaming—it’s just the beginning. The upcoming Wi-Fi 7 standard can connect a device across all three bands (2.4GHz, 5GHz, and 6GHz) simultaneously to fully leverage available spectrum and deliver incredible speeds with greater efficiency. The new standard will provide speeds that are 4.8 times faster than Wi-Fi 6 and 13 times faster than Wi-Fi 5, far surpassing the speed, latency, and reliability of all previous standards. This jump in technology is simply incredible and will unlock more gaming scenarios than ever before.
As mentioned, Wi-Fi 7 will surpass its predecessors with substantial enhancements in speed, latency, and reliability. Operating on an extended channel width of up to 320MHz on the 6GHz band, it will offer increased bandwidth. We’re talking four times faster than Wi-Fi 6E with the ability to download 256GB in 25 seconds. This will lead to even faster data rates and reduced congestion that ultimately enables simultaneous transmissions at optimum speeds. Wi-Fi 7 represents the end of buffering problems, which is tremendous news for the gaming industry.
Multiuser MIMO (MU-MIMO) indicates that a network device is capable of managing multiple users with multiple inputs and outputs simultaneously. With Wi-Fi 7, this capacity will grow from 8 to 16 users, doubling the multiuser level. With advanced technologies like MU-MIMO and OFDMA, Wi-Fi 7 will better manage multiple devices simultaneously, ensuring seamless connections in crowded gaming environments.
Higher transmission rates and transmission efficiency are another positive detail of Wi-Fi 7, meaning better connectivity for gaming tasks that are highly dependent on latency. Even with 8K resolutions for smart TVs, Wi-Fi 7 will work seamlessly with streaming platforms. This means, graphically speaking, you won’t just see the game, you’ll be inside the game. No delay of any kind will arise, and any actions you take will happen in real time. Moreover, Wi-Fi 7 will enable the use of multiple resource units while puncturing to avoid congestion, thereby reducing interference reduced essentially to zero, which is great for gaming. All of the upgrades in the Wi-Fi 7 standard will result in speed capabilities over 40GB/s in ideal conditions. Bearing in mind that the current Wi-Fi 6E standard can only reach a theoretical 9.6GB/s when combining all frequency bands, this jump is quite significant. Furthermore, Wi-Fi 7’s multilink operation will enable devices to use different channels simultaneously to send and receive information, which will reduce latency and congestion and, in turn, allow for improved reliability with ultra-low latencies. Combined, all of these updates will unlock more gaming scenarios than ever before.
With Wi-Fi 7, gamers will experience interference, congestion, and buffering far less in online games. It will allow them to be completely involved in a game and truly immersed. And this new standard will enable the graphical experience to be phenomenal. The industry will be able to update the visual experience and deliver full high-definition and high-level graphic components. The most notable improvement for gaming with Wi-Fi 7, however, will be the reduction in latency that allows actions in the virtual realm to mirror intentions in the real world with unparalleled precision. Moreover, Wi-Fi 7 exposes the industry to new sceneries—for example, multimode, multiplayer events in real time in one space. Gamers will no longer be tied to their consoles in their homes; gaming parties will be possible in which multiple gamers use the same Wi-Fi network without slowing each other down.
The other big development on the horizon is the metaverse, which will enable an immersive world of gaming, fantasy, and avatars. Wi-Fi 7 will make immersive experiences more engaging by reducing latency in graphically intensive online VR sessions. And Wi-Fi 7 is not just about gaming, it’s about entertainment. Thanks to multichannel simultaneous streaming, users will enjoy a smooth experience in virtual parties—people will be able to meet or play together in the virtual reality world, as well as share, add, and buy things they like in real time while playing. This more seamless, interactive experience will see the convergence of gaming and entertainment and expand the gaming industry’s reach to a far wider audience.
Developments in Wi-Fi 7 will be driven by leading chipset companies. Many of these companies have already updated to Wi-Fi 7 technology and are leading future developments. Products such as the KYOCERA AVX 2.4GHz / 5GHz and Wi-Fi® 6GHz Antennas will also be fundamental to empower Wi-Fi 7-enabled technology. These antennas from KYOCERA AVX, including the WX Family of Antenna and X9003019 Series, stand out with adjustable radiation patterns, optimizing signal strength across orientations, thus reducing latency for next generation of gaming and VR applications. Big players have already started building the systems, routers, and access points that will enable future gaming experiences to take advantage of the benefits of Wi-Fi 7. Of course, the development of Wi-Fi 7-enabled products is still very limited, and the specifications aren’t yet clear. The speed and capacity of Wi-Fi 7 routers operating in real-world conditions are yet to be defined.
Wi-Fi 7 will allow virtual reality and the metaverse space to take full advantage of improved bandwidth to stream immersive worlds. Real-time multiplayer events won’t suffer from lag, and multiple users on the same network can game and livestream simultaneously without bandwidth constraints. Large installation and update files will download in a flash. Streamed versions of games will run as smoothly as downloaded copies. Ultimately, the gaming industry will close the gap between online and offline performance, allowing users to enjoy graphically intensive, lag-free multiplayer or streaming experiences.
This impending hardware upgrade will be an opportunity for the industry to bring home a new virtual reality experience. Wi-Fi 7 technology will jump into laptops, desktops, smartphones, smart TVs, and Internet of Things (IoT) devices, enabling it to offer immersive experiences to vast audiences rather than a niche market. Of course, all of this will take time. To begin with, the routers mentioned will be high-tech and high-cost products. But over the next year or two, costs will be reduced and a wider range of Wi-Fi 7 products will become available.
Looking further into the future, Wi-Fi 8 is already in development. Its focus is more on things like IoT and artificial intelligence as well as combining Wi-Fi 7 with 5G to enable things such as safe, automated driving experiences—another level of connectivity for the tech industry. While these updates are not directly related to gaming at this time, who knows where these next standards might take us? Once we can deliver the virtual and physical experience in one place in real time, the possibilities may be endless.
Jens Hilgendag is a young-spirited and dynamic Senior Manager with more than 20 years of experience in the IT and Teleco Sector. Led sales and marketing campaigns in highly competitive markets. He currently works as AIoT GTM Senior Manager in Xiaomi. He worked for companies such as HTC, Huawei, Tp-Link and 360° integral marketing agencies.
He was one of the creators of the virtual 11 vs 11 PS tournament in the Sub 21 Soccer World Cup held in Colombia and other Gaming events in the region.
He has extensive networking and international experience in Latin American and European markets.
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