Headshot of Cognitive's CTO, Oleksiy Kravets, and the title of the blog: "How Will Wi-Fi 7 Impact Wi-Fi Sensing?"
May 14, 2024

How Will Wi-Fi 7 Impact Wi-Fi Sensing?

The following blog was authored by Cognitive’s CTO & Co-Founder, Oleksiy Kravets. 

Many of us often take Wi-Fi for granted, considering it an essential tool for our daily tasks. In an increasingly digital world, Wi-Fi has transformed from a luxury into a necessity, with many of us unable to imagine our routines without it. However, it’s not just about accessibility; we want Wi-Fi to enable us to do anything, anywhere, and in any way we wish. This collective demand continually pushes Wi-Fi to its technological limits, driving a cycle of continuous development and progress.  

The reality is that most people don’t pay much attention to how Wi-Fi standards change over time, like going from Wi-Fi 5 to Wi-Fi 6. Given that few can distinguish key features between these standards, the question naturally arises: why the sudden excitement over Wi-Fi 7, and what does this mean practically for Wi-Fi technology? 

What is Wi-Fi 7? 

Wi-Fi 7 (IEEE 802.11be), the upcoming Wi-Fi standard set to be ratified by the end of 2024, is highly anticipated. Its potential to earn the “carrier-class” label from ISPs due to its exceptional reliability, performance, and scalability makes Wi-Fi 7 crucial for meeting strict telecommunications standards and delivering top-notch wireless connectivity. For ISPs and telcos, Wi-Fi 7 is not just a new standard—it’s a strategic asset. It promises robust performance in challenging network environments and addresses the growing demand for faster and more reliable internet experiences. Moreover, Wi-Fi 7’s advanced capabilities align perfectly with customers’ expectations for enhanced functionalities, making it a significant driver of customer satisfaction and competitive advantage in today’s digital landscape. 

With Wi-Fi 7 looming on the horizon, let’s look at what’s changing in Wi-Fi and its impact on Wi-Fi Sensing solutions, like, for example, our own WiFi Motion™. 

What’s New with Wi-Fi 7? 

While the official list of features for hasn’t been finalized yet, some features have been announced in earlier drafts. Among the anticipated features of Wi-Fi 7 are the following: 

  • Multi-User MIMO (MU-MIMO) & Low-Density Parity-Check (LDPC) 
  • Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA) 
  • 6 GHz Frequency Band 
  • Quadrature Amplitude Modulation (1024-QAM) 
  • Dynamic Frequency Selection (DFS) 
  • Multi-Link Operation (MLO) 
  • WPA3 Security Protocol 

Together, these features are expected to bring many advantages, such as better efficiency, less delay, faster speeds, smarter spectrum usage in congested areas, less interference, higher data flow, improved dependability, and stronger security measures. These improvements are set to boost overall performance and user satisfaction with wireless networks, making Wi-Fi 7 a notable upgrade from earlier standards. 

To delve deeper into the technical aspects of Wi-Fi 7, you can refer to the latest standard drafts available from the IEEE. 

How Will Wi-Fi Sensing Evolve? 

Wi-Fi Sensing leverages the existing Wi-Fi network. Therefore, naturally, any improvements to the network will translate to improvements in our technology. Specifically, the enhancements from Wi-Fi 7 at the chipset level are expected to result in more powerful devices for motion sensing. Though we’re still exploring the full scope of these enhancements, we anticipate seeing the following improvements in Wi-Fi Sensing: 

1) Improved Responsiveness: Lower latency and improved responsiveness, facilitated by faster device communication, optimized device selection, and faster data transmission, could enable Wi-Fi Sensing systems to deliver more accurate and timely data. The reduced latency in Wi-Fi Sensing systems ensures quick detection and reporting of motion events, enabling swift responses in security systems that need to detect and react promptly to intrusions or unauthorized movements. This leads to a real-time response and a more responsive experience with minimal delay. 

2) Enhanced Coverage: The increased capacity to efficiently handle more data and operations could similarly aid Wi-Fi Sensing in managing more concurrent connections and data streams from devices. This seamless coordination among sensors could enhance coverage and accuracy in detecting, analyzing, and localizing motion events across a monitored space. Such scalability would be especially advantageous for applications requiring simultaneous tracking of numerous devices in crowded environments or across larger areas. 

3) Improved Reliability: By optimizing channel allocation and minimizing interference, Wi-Fi Sensing systems experience fewer signal disruptions, leading to consistent and reliable data. This ensures that sensing data is more accurate and dependable by reducing interruptions caused by interference from other devices or networks, as well as false alarms. 

4) Scalability: Wi-Fi 7 is designed to support emerging sensing technologies such as advanced sensors, IoT devices, and edge computing systems, facilitating the integration of more sophisticated sensors into Wi-Fi Sensing networks. Its robust wireless infrastructure not only boosts scalability and flexibility but also caters to an increasing number of sensors and devices through multi-band operation, wider bandwidth, and dynamic frequency band selection. This scalability plays a crucial role in extending Wi-Fi Sensing applications across various environments, leading to improved efficiency, better user experiences, and innovative solutions across different industries. Additionally, Wi-Fi 7’s backward compatibility seamlessly integrates new Wi-Fi Sensing capabilities with existing infrastructure, allowing for smooth upgrades and expansions without disruptions or the need for extensive hardware changes. 

5) Precise Localization: Wi-Fi 7 has the potential to greatly improve signal reception and accuracy in Wi-Fi Sensing applications, particularly in localization tasks, by reducing signal distortions and reflections, which in turn leads to more precise localization, tracking, and detection capabilities. In motion detection scenarios, better signal reception and less interference lead to increased accuracy and precision in detecting motion events. This upgrade is pivotal in enhancing the overall performance and reliability of Wi-Fi Sensing systems, making them more effective in various applications. 

What’s Next for Wi-Fi 7? 

We are excited about the potential of Wi-Fi 7’s advancements to enhance Wi-Fi Sensing technology. The improvements made at the chipset level, focusing on optimizing data transmission, reducing latency, and enhancing system stability and security, are expected to result in a more responsive, reliable, and precise sensing experience.  

As Wi-Fi 7 gains traction in the industry, the future of wireless communication appears promising. Anticipated widespread adoption of Wi-Fi 7 in the coming years brings enhanced capabilities, promising unprecedented levels of responsiveness, reliability, and precision in Wi-Fi Sensing technology. In line with this, Cognitive is partnering with chipset manufacturers like MediaTek, Qualcomm, MaxLinear, and Broadcom to ensure their Wi-Fi 7 chips are compatible with WiFi Motion. 

Within the next few years, we expect to see many new devices and Wi-Fi networks incorporating Wi-Fi 7 capabilities, with even broader adoption projected in the following years.  This gradual transition is aimed at ensuring compatibility, stability, and widespread availability of Wi-Fi 7 technology across various sectors and applications, ultimately establishing it as the leading wireless communication technology by 2027. 

About the Author 

As the Chief Technology Officer of Cognitive since it was founded in 2014, Oleksiy Kravets brings a wealth of experience as a software engineer and technology executive. With nearly 25 years of expertise in algorithms and software engineering, Oleksiy has led engineering teams and companies to develop innovative products, resulting in mass-market growth across business development, R&D, chip design, and radio systems. Most notably, OIeksiy joined Blackberry’s RIM Cellular Technology team, where he was responsible for developing and deploying radio/RF solutions for BlackBerry’s most successful smartphones between 2005 and 2010. Following this success, he became the Director and Founder of Blackberry’s Advanced Radio Systems Group, where he developed a production-ready cellular radio/RFIC and an RF front-end that outperformed all known competitive solutions at the time.