False Protection of Real-Time Traffic with Quieting in Heterogeneous Wi-Fi 7 Networks: An Experimental Study

Sensors (Basel). 2023 Nov 2;23(21):8927. doi: 10.3390/s23218927.


To provide limited delays for remote sensing and control, gaming, and virtual reality applications, the Wi-Fi 7 standard introduces the Restricted Target Wake Time (R-TWT) mechanism, which reserves time intervals for particular stations with such real-time traffic. As legacy stations do not support R-TWT, the access point forbids channel access during these intervals for legacy stations. Quiet Intervals have been announced for this purpose. Since the support for the Quieting Framework can be configured as mandatory in some networks, Quiet Intervals are assumed to be valid protection for R-TWT. The paper describes experimental results with mass-market devices that disprove this assumption. The paper reveals significant inconsistencies between the standard and widely used devices, e.g., the inability to schedule multiple Quiet Intervals. It will be a significant problem for Wi-Fi 7 devices using R-TWT in heterogeneous networks with legacy devices and will require much effort from academia and industry to solve.

Keywords: 802.11be; R-TWT; Wi-Fi 7; channel access; quiet interval; quieting; real-time traffic.