As a large number of Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E devices are being introduced into our homes and offices, we have a new emerging Wi-Fi technology that promises to improve current standards with faster data rates, lower latency, and more achieve improved connectivity. This new wireless standard is called Wi-Fi 7 or technically ‘IEEE 802.11be’ Extremely High Throughput (EHT). When Wi-Fi 6 was introduced about 2-3 years ago, there was a gradual increase in speed over its previous version i.e. Wi-Fi 5, but Wi-Fi 7 boasts of extremely fast connection and therefore it is termed as “EHT” which stands for ‘Extremely High Throughput.’ As per technical specifications, Wi-Fi 7 could provide nominal peak data rates of over 40 Gbps. Thus, Wi-Fi 7 is over 4x faster than Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E, which can reach a maximum data rate of 9.6 Gbps, and nearly 6x faster than Wi-Fi 5 which maxes out at 6.9 Gbps. Additionally, Wi-Fi 7 uses new technologies to reduce latency, increase network bandwidth and boost efficiency.
The IEEE 802.11be Task Group (TGbe) was formally established in May 2019; it is working on the development of 802.11be (Wi-Fi 7). According to an IEEE paper, the standard will be available in Release 1 and Release 2. The TGbe released Draft 1.0 of 802.11be in 2021, and Release 1 by the end of 2022. Further, release 2 expected to be initiated at the beginning of 2022 and will be released at the end of 2024.
New features introduced in Wi-Fi 7 are: –
- Up to 320 MHz Bandwidth (including contiguous 240 MHz, non-contiguous 160+80 MHz, contiguous 320 MHz, and non-contiguous 160+160 MHz).
- Higher-Order 4096-QAM
- More Data Streams and Enhanced MIMO
- Multi-AP Coordination
- Improved Preamble Puncturing
- Multi-Link Operation
- Hybrid Automatic Repeat Request (HARQ)
Delivering ultra-fast wireless speeds and consistently low latency, Wi-Fi 7 expands the wireless experience and opens up new uses including low-latency augmented reality (XR), social cloud gaming, 8K video streaming, simultaneous video conferencing and broadcasting.
Thus, Wi-Fi 7 brings many improvements in the Wi-Fi space, and thus it has spiced up the market as well. Corporates like Qualcomm, Huawei, Intel, MediaTek, LG etc. are prominent players in this sector, and they are contributing majorly in developing Wi-Fi 7 specifications and product line.
List of Wi-Fi 7 based products
- Qualcomm has introduced few products related to Wi-Fi 7 such as Immersive Home 3210 Platform, Immersive Home 326 Platform, Qualcomm Networking Pro 1620 platform, Networking Pro 620 Platform, Networking Pro 820 Platform, Networking Pro 1220 Platform, FastConnect 7800 etc.
- Similarly, On September 20 Huawei has introduced AirEngine 8771-X1T that is Wi-Fi 7 AP.
- In addition, last year, TP-Link had introduced new fleet of models into the market that were based on Wi-Fi 7. Further, they have also introduced Wi-Fi 7 router Archer BE900 along with BE800 and BE550. They are also working on Wi-Fi 7 mesh systems for homes, including the Deco BE65, BE85 and BE95. They have introduced BE19000 Tri-Band Wi-Fi 7 gaming router Archer GE800 as well.
- MediaTek has also introduced Wi-Fi 7 Products at CES 2023. MediaTek commercialized its Wi-Fi -7 product line as advanced Filogic Wi-Fi 7 technology. Few such products are MediaTek Filogic 880, MediaTek Filogic 380 etc.
- Further, interestingly an Indian company named HFCL has collaborated with Qualcomm for its newly developed Wi-Fi 7 portfolio of products.
- Further, in 2023, Actiontec also announces Wi-Fi 7 Products as well.
- Intel and Broadcom together have also showcased a demo of cross-vendor Wi-Fi 7 products. Broadcom Wi-Fi 7 ecosystem product portfolio includes BCM67263, BCM6726, BCM43740, BCM43720 and BCM4398.
Patent analysis related to Wi-Fi 7
Next, we analyzed the patent landscape related to Wi-Fi 7. We observed that majority of the patents are filed by LG, Intel, Huawei, Qualcomm. Interestingly, few other assignees in the list are Canon, Kia, Hyundai as well. Below is the chart for showcasing the Assignee trend.
Further, there are some key inventors who have been predominantly active in this space. These are Jin-Su Choe, Eunsung Park, Dongguk Lim, Jung-Ki Kim, Jinsoo Choi, In Sun Jang, Jin Young Cheon, Cariou Laurent, Kim Jeongki, Suhwook Kim, Namyeong Kim, Park Eunsung, Tae-Won Song, Lim Dongguk etc. Below is the chart depicting top inventors in Wi-Fi 7 technology.
Further, Patent Publication trend and Patent Priority trend are shown as follows –
In order to understand the technical nuances of Wi-Fi 7, we have analyzed the granted patents (200+) in the domain to identify the disclosed technical aspects. Accordingly, we have created a patent-categorization table that displays the key Wi-Fi 7 enabling technology concepts as explained in various patents belonging to different assignees.
Insights related to above patent categorization study: –
We have observed that out of around 1200+ patent families related to WiFi-7, majority of the patents were filed by LG Electronics, Intel, Huawei and Qualcomm. If we consider only granted patents in the domain (200+), the major assignees are Qualcomm, Intel, MediaTek, Huawei and LG. In terms of ratio of patents to patents granted, it seems that LG has a poor ratio, i.e., only about 5% of all LG patent applications related to Wi-Fi 7 have been granted so far. This ratio stands at 15% for Huawei. Qualcomm (50%) and MediaTek (64%) boast of impressive numbers here. Thus, it
- As regards Qualcomm’s granted patent families – more than 50% patents fall under “Resource unit (RU) allocation subfield”, “Trigger frame PPDU structure” and 50% patents have “20MHZ puncturing”. Further, ~20% patents fall under “40MHZ puncturing” and “Puncturing Pattern/bitmap” categories.
- As regards LG’s granted patents families – 15-20% patents fall under “Resource unit (RU) allocation subfield”, “Trigger frame PPDU structure”. Also, all patents disclose 20 MHz puncturing while ~25% patents discloses “40MHZ puncturing” and ~15% granted patent families discloses “Puncturing Pattern/bitmap” and “Channel width/PPDU BW subfield”.
- All Intel patent families disclose about only two fields i.e. “Resource unit (RU) allocation subfield” and “Trigger frame PPDU structure”.
- As regards MediaTek’s granted patent families – maximum number of patents (75%) fall under 20MHZ puncturing and about 50% of the patent families disclose about “Resource unit (RU) allocation subfield”, “Trigger frame PPDU structure” and “80 MHZ puncturing”.
- Every Newracom granted patent family discloses about “Resource unit (RU) allocation subfield”, “Trigger frame PPDU structure”, “20MHZ puncturing” and ~30% granted patent families discloses about “40MHZ puncturing”, “80 MHZ puncturing” and “Puncturing Pattern/bitmap”.
- Out of 200+ granted patent families in the Wi-Fi 7 domain – majority of the granted patents (~70%) disclose “Trigger frame PPDU structure”, while “Resource unit (RU) allocation subfield” and “20MHZ puncturing” are disclosed in 60% granted patent families.
- Close to 40% granted patent families related to Wi-Fi 7 mention about “RU information for data transmission/reception or Multi-tone RU structure” which can be either 484+242 tone RU, 996+484 tone RU, 996+484+242 tone RU, 2×996+484 tone RU, 3×996 tone RU or 3×996+484 tone RU.
- 15-20% granted patent families related to Wi-Fi 7 disclose about “40MHZ puncturing”, “80 MHZ puncturing” and Puncturing Pattern/bitmap.
- “Channel width/PPDU BW subfield” is disclosed in 12% patent families while only 3% patents disclose “Bit position subfield”.
Below presented is the assignee chart for 1200+ patent families in the Wi-Fi 7 domain, which contains around 200+ granted patent families.: –
Hence, based on the aforementioned study, it can be deduced that the evolution of Wi-Fi technology to Wi-Fi 7 is indispensable in light of the increasing demands for peak data rate. This emerging technology presents itself as a pressing necessity in the current landscape. Wi-Fi 7 surpasses its predecessor by exhibiting a remarkable speed improvement of 4-5 times. Consequently, prominent telecommunication companies have commenced their endeavors in developing and implementing Wi-Fi 7 to cater to the escalating demands of the market. In the context of patent filing, LG, Intel, Huawei, and Qualcomm emerge as the principal contributors in this domain. Moreover, when considering the product line of Wi-Fi 7, Qualcomm, Huawei, and MediaTek stand out as the primary participants.