WLAN IEEE 802.11be testing

Rohde & Schwarz test solutions are designed to help test engineers to work already today on the 7th generation of Wi-Fi (Wi-Fi 7) promising extreme high data throughput.

The market for the sixth generation of Wi-Fi, IEEE 802.11ax, is just picking up and regulation authorities are opening the 6 GHz spectrum for Wi-Fi 6E. But work is already underway on the next generation, namely IEEE 802.11be, also known as Wi-Fi 7 or extremely high throughput (EHT).

The main target for 802.11be is to increase data throughput to tens of gigabits per second at low latency in order to keep pace with latest application trends such as ultra high definition video streaming, virtual reality or augmented reality applications. Wi-Fi 7 will operate, similarly to Wi-Fi 6E, in the 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz and 6 GHz bands, with some small adaptations on the tone plane.

The key elements to reach higher throughput are increased channel bandwidth of 320 MHz, up to 16 spatial streams and 4096QAM modulation. These advanced features are challenging today’s Wi-Fi test setups. Rohde & Schwarz already offers solutions well suited for Wi-Fi 7 testing.

Extreme high throughput does not come for free

The foundation for extreme high throughput is based on supporting wider channels, more spatial streams and higher modulation schemes. However, they are by far not sufficient to meet future application requirements. This is why a couple of additional features are considered for the task. They include assigning multiple resource units (RU) per user, optimized HARQ process, multi-link operation over all bands, and several kinds of coordinated multi access point operations. For the efficient use of the new spectrum on the 6 GHz band, features like multi-user resource units (MRU) and preamble puncturing are of high relevance. Such features add a new level of complexity and require innovative test solutions.

Key technology elements of Wi-Fi 7

IEEE 802.11be signal analysis of a 320 MHz EHT-MU PDDU with the R&S®FSW signal and spectrum analyzer
IEEE 802.11be signal analysis of a 320 MHz EHT-MU PDDU with the R&S®FSW signal and spectrum analyzer

Your 802.11be test challenges

The 802.11be standard already defines various transmitter and receiver tests such as EVM, TX power, spectrum emissions and sensitivity. For example, 4096QAM modulation requires signal generation capabilities to transmit signals with very low distortion over a bandwidth of up to 320 MHz as well as spectrum analyzers with the required analysis bandwidth able to perform with a very low residual EVM. Advanced features like multi-RU assignment in multi-user operation will extend the demand for signaling test solutions, allowing verification of parameters like timing error, unused tone error and TX power adjustment. These requirements can be challenging to meet, requiring innovative T&M solutions.

Benefits of Rohde & Schwarz 802.11be test solutions

We are committed to providing a comprehensive solution portfolio covering testing of chipsets, modules, stations and access points. This applies to all application layers, from RF to signaling testing and end-to-end data application testing. Rohde & Schwarz offers already today instruments supporting the next generation Wi-Fi testing in terms of bandwidth and accuracy in research and development.

Related resources

Article: 802.11be WLAN standard outline (page 19 ff.)

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