Future proofed WLAN products will support WiFi 7

Nicola Brittain

New Wi-Fi 7 standards are already leaving Wi Fi 6 in the dust; here we look at two interesting future-proofed WLAN products tested for this high throughput standard

As the process industry continues to see increasing requirements for connectivity to workers and sensors, existing networks are being expanded and upgraded. Wireless LAN technology has recently made significant advancements with the completion of Wi-Fi 7 (IEEE standard 802.11be), the introduction of the latest security standard, WPA3, and new Wi-Fi Location capabilities.

For existing and emerging wireless use cases, this next generation WLAN offers new capabilities that can match or exceed 5G and 6G in most ways, typically at a lower cost.

While Wi-Fi 7 provides notable improvements in data throughput, the most significant advancements are improvements in efficiency, and manufacturers have begun releasing a plethora of products that make use of this new standard.

RoHde & Schwarz demonstrated products at MWC

Rohde & Schwarz (R&S) is one such manufacturer, and it displayed its R&S CMX500 multi-technology multi-channel signaling tester at the Barcelona-based tradeshow MWC 2024 earlier this year.

The product benefits from newly added Wi-Fi 7 testing capabilities including a one-box tester that allows research and development engineers of wireless devices to comprehensively test their design’s operation in cellular and non-cellular standards of the latest generation in a single instrument setup.

In addition, the R&S CMP180 radio communication tester will verify a signal waveform of 480 MHz bandwidth in loopback mode, making it a future-proof solution for users in research and development and production, even beyond the requirements of Wi-Fi 7.

Challenges of next-generation WLAN testing

While the market for the sixth generation of Wi-Fi, IEEE 802.11ax, is still growing, the development of Wi-Fi 7, or IEEE 802.11be, is in full swing. Wi-Fi 7  has been designed for extremely high data throughput. With tens of gigabits of data per second and low latency, it meets the growing demand for ultra-high-definition video streaming, virtual reality and augmented reality applications.

Requirements for a higher throughput are an increased channel bandwidth of 320 MHz, up to 16 spatial streams and 4096 QAM modulation. In addition, for a yet-to-be-defined Wi-Fi 8 (IEEE 802.11bn) standard, even wider channel bandwidths are in discussion. Rohde & Schwarz meets these challenging requirements with its solutions for testing Wi-Fi 7 and beyond.