Maximizing Your Network’s Potential with Wi-Fi 7: Are You Ready?

The most recent advancement in wireless technology standards is called Wi-Fi 7. By offering significant advancements in speed, capacity, and efficiency, Wi-Fi 7 addresses several challenges that limited the effectiveness of previous versions of Wi-Fi. 

Unfortunately, reaping all the benefits of Wi-Fi 7 is not as simple as plugging in new devices. Organizations must be aware that new technology can also introduce new risks. Therefore, they must prioritize using Wi-Fi 7–enabled devices with comprehensive security and AI-powered IT operations tools

One of the primary challenges Wi-Fi 7 solves is the increasing demand for higher data rates. With the proliferation of bandwidth-hogging applications, such as 4K video streaming and multi-user collaboration tools, Wi-Fi 7 provides lightning-fast data transfer speeds, reaching up to multiple gigabits per second. This ensures quicker downloads, flawless streaming, low-latency connections, and a positive user experience, even in environments with many connected devices. 

Wi-Fi 7 relieves network congestion and improves overall network performance via better channel and spectrum utilization. New multi-link technology allows concurrent connections and data to use multiple channels across single or multiple frequency bands, aggregating bandwidth for greater performance. This allows video conferencing systems to keep low power association on 2.4 GHz while potentially using other bands for high data throughput. It is also crucial in helping to address some of the challenges of OT and IoT convergence in the modern campus.

Wi-Fi 7 introduces a function called “puncturing”, which is intended to ramp up the efficiency of transmission channel usage. By enabling a Wi-Fi 7 access point to utilize parts of a channel that are vacant, even when other users are on the same channel, puncturing aids in maximising the use of spectrum in areas where other gadgets might cause disturbances. Combined with multiple resource unit (MRU) capabilities, a single client device can exploit this “divided” channel. This becomes critical when you consider that Wi-Fi 7 can handle a 320 MHz channel, twice the capacity of Wi-Fi 6.

However, it is crucial to bear in mind that while Wi-Fi 7 offers distinct benefits for businesses that rely on interconnected devices and high-bandwidth applications, few technological advancements can be incorporated without some impact on existing systems. Thus, while considering the benefits of Wi-Fi 7, don’t neglect the necessity of upgrading the organization’s networks to accommodate Wi-Fi 7.

The continual increase in data consumption and the proliferation of bandwidth-intensive applications necessitates a network that can cope with heightened data transfer speeds. Offering multi-gigabit speeds, Wi-Fi 7 requires a foundational network that is capable of matching the growing demands of data-heavy tasks. This is especially relevant for sectors like healthcare, financial services, and education, where large datasets and real-time applications are fundamental to their functions.

Alongside this, due to the rising device density in modern workplaces, primarily due to the uptake of IoT devices and widespread use of mobile devices, networks with superior capacity are required. Although Wi-Fi 7 allows for improved management and increased bandwidth of multiple concurrently connected devices, the remainder of the network must also be equipped to cope with this additional burden. This is particularly crucial for organizations where network dependability directly influences productivity and operational efficiency.

Enhanced channel utilization and reduced latency lead to quicker response times, which are exceedingly beneficial for applications such as cloud-based tools, videoconferencing, and other latency-dependent processes. However, these benefits may not be fully realized if the remainder of the network cannot keep up with the pace.

Most security appliances struggle with the decryption and examination of encrypted traffic. The situation is exacerbated by an increase in traffic speed and volume. With the advancement of cyber threat technologies, new challenges emerge, such as surveying and inspecting rich media and streaming videos for deep fakes or hidden malware. These challenges are beyond the capabilities of the majority of cybersecurity appliances, barring those enhanced with custom processors.

Staying at the forefront of cyber threats necessitates robust security measures on devices designed to accommodate new performance and throughput requirements. High-performance network security devices, such as the advanced hybrid mesh firewall offerings, are pivotal in safeguarding sensitive data, optimizing user experience, and maintaining the trust of clients and partners.

Networking infrastructure needs to evolve in tandem with the benefits of Wi-Fi 7 and the escalated demands of both legacy and new applications. This is why it is essential to consider your switches and related technologies to prevent them from causing bottlenecks when Wi-Fi 7 is implemented.

In a world driven by digital technology, it’s crucial for organizations to step up to Wi-Fi 7 if they wish to remain competitive and resilient. Wi-Fi 7 brings along various benefits including higher speeds, greater capacity, network efficiency, and improved security, all of which make it a game-changing technology. However, it’s important for various organizations to keep pace with these advancements, particularly in relation to security solutions.

Learn more about how Fortinet can help your organization transition to Wi-Fi 7.

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