What is IEEE 802.11be?

What is IEEE 802.11be or Wi-Fi 7?

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- everything RF

May 18, 2022

IEEE 802.11be is the next amendment of the IEEE 802.11 standard also known as “Wi-Fi 7”. The 802.11be standard is based on the existing Wi-Fi 6’s 802.11ax standard. The seventh generation of Wi-Fi promises even higher data rates and lower latency and will be referred to as 802.11be EHT or Wi-Fi 7 Extremely High Throughput.

As it’s based on Wi-Fi 6’s 802.11ax, some of the proposed features for Wi-Fi 7 are direct enhancements of Wi-Fi 6 features. Wi-Fi 6 delivers data rates of over 9.6 Gbps in three 160 MHz channels with up to 1024 -QAM modulation and 8 spatial streams MU-MIMO. Wi-Fi 7 enhances all these features to provide over 3 times faster data rates of 46 Gbps using a 320 MHz channel in the 6 GHz band and one 160 MHz channel in the 5 GHz band with up to 4096-QAM (4K-QAM) modulation and 16 spatial streams CMU-MIMO. The 6 GHz band is the most recently added band for unlicensed use and supported and introduced by Wi-Fi 6E. The enhanced channel size (320 MHz) of Wi-Fi 7 makes it ideally suited to benefit from complete access to the 6 GHz band up to 7.25 GHz as opposed to partial access to this band provided by Wi-Fi 6E.

IEEE 802.11be or Wi-Fi 7 also features allocation of multiple resources such as groups of OFDMA tones which will make spectrum utilization more efficient. This feature has been added to support AR/VR, IoT and IIoT applications. With the development of sophisticated technologies such as 8K ultra high-quality videos (with 7680x4320 pixels or four times as many pixels as a 4K TV and 16 times as many as a 1080p TV) and high-resolution VR (Virtual Reality) or AR (Augmented Reality), video is expected to become the dominant traffic type on the internet very soon to comprise 82% of all internet traffic with a throughput of traffic per person expected to increase to hundreds of gigabytes. Wi-Fi 7 is being designed to be optimized for these video applications like gaming, streaming, smart home devices and services etc. Additionally IEEE standards development group also recognizes the need to improve Wi-Fi transmission delay and jitter for real-time applications like external office apps, cloud computing and medical use cases with delays expected to become as low as 5 ms. This will be done by integrating Time-Sensitive Networking (TSN) extensions for low-latency real-time traffic of IEEE 802.11aa to the 802.11be specification.

In-band full-duplex (IBFD) operation is another feature that is in contention to be added to IEE 802.11be. With IBFD, a wireless terminal can transmit and receive at the same time in the same frequency band. Even though it has advantages like higher throughput and lower latency, one practical limitation of IFBD is the presence of intrinsic noise, i.e. the interference caused by the transmitter to its own receiver. An alternative to this is multi-band full-duplex which uses different bands. It allows asynchronous and concurrent uplink/downlink operation in separate bands. Its integration with Wi-Fi 7 will minimize the separation between uplink and downlink channels.


802.11ax or Wi-Fi 6

802.11be or Wi-Fi 7

Maximum data capacity

10 Gbps

46 Gbps

QAM modulation



Data Streams

MU-MIMO (8 streams)

CMU-MIMO (16 streams)

Access Point



Bands supported (frequency)

2.4GHz, 5GHz

2.4 GHz, 5 GHz, 6 GHz, 7 GHz

Single-channel width 

160 MHz

320 MHz



16x16 CMU-MIMO




Release Date

2019 (released)


Development of the Wi-Fi 7 802.11be amendment is ongoing, with a goal to release an initial draft first, and then a final version which is expected by early 2024.

Click here to read a detailed article that talks about the features of Wi-Fi 7.