The Wi-Fi Alliance has declared today that products certified by Wi-Fi 7 are prepared for release. For real-time applications like wireless VR streaming, the most recent iteration of the Wi-Fi standard has the potential for “near-zero” latency.
Today, the Wi-Fi Alliance, the body responsible for upholding and advancing the Wi-Fi standard, said that suitable products can now be formally certified as “Wi-Fi 7 Certified” and sold as such.
The Wi-Fi 7 (or 802.11.be) standard offers the typical enhancements you might anticipate, such as increased transmission and speed. However, the Alliance also requests latency reductions for wireless virtual reality applications, such as using Steam Link on Quest.
The group specifically states that “near-zero latency” is supported by the Multi-Link Operation (MLO) and Simultaneous Transmission and Reception (STR) technologies, which would be advantageous for wireless VR.
For improved speed and stability, MLO enables Wi-Fi 7 devices to connect to several bands (i.e., 2.4Ghz, 5Ghz, and 6Ghz) simultaneously. Wi-Fi 7 devices may send and receive data simultaneously across those different bands thanks to STR, an MLO component.
In order to reduce latency, a wireless VR headset may theoretically concurrently broadcast its own tracking data on the 5GHz frequency and receive a high-throughput visual feed on the 6GHz band.
Additionally, according to the Wi-Fi Alliance, Wi-Fi 7 supports “deterministic latency,” which would improve wireless VR’s ability to manage latency-prone scenarios. Determining the total pipeline delay reduces perceived latency by facilitating the prediction of the headset’s location.
The delay caused by Wi-Fi transmission is only a small portion of the total latency pipeline, so even if “near-zero latency” turns out to be accurate in practice, this does not indicate a totally latency-free VR experience. Rendering, encoding, decoding, and device-dependent delay all still cause lag.