Wi-Fi 7 standard is finalized — Wi-Fi Alliance starts certifying Wi-Fi 7 routers and other devices

Wi-Fi 7 Certified logo for qualified wireless devices
(Image credit: Background Image: © Tom's Hardware / Logo: Wi-Fi Alliance)

The Wi-Fi Alliance has finalized and introduced a certification for this advanced wireless standard, which will improve the connectivity with the performance of devices for home, office, and industrial use. The Wi-Fi 7 certification is introduced to maintain a standard for upcoming wireless devices. The Wi-Fi certification was expected to get final approval in 2024, which has already taken time as we already have systems, mobile devices, and routers with Wi-Fi 7 standards.

The Wi-Fi 7 standard ensures high-bandwidth throughput with low latency performance, higher efficiency, and reduced overhead. Hence, a certification is required to indicate that particular devices are qualified to provide the expected features and benefits. This is needed for the home, official, and industrial sectors as AR/ VR/ XR, 3D gaming, home/ office needs, new generation IoT, and mission-critical applications in the training and automotive industry have exponentially increased their dependency on wireless technology. This is critical as wireless devices must handle more significant data throughput, multiple connectivity, and reliability for these workloads and applications. Hence, the 'Wi-Fi 7 Certified' standard on respective devices ensures respective devices are made for these specific purposes.

Intel also emphasized the increase of dependency on wireless technology last year while talking about Wi-Fi 7 and beyond, showing how different wireless standards for respective devices and uses will be used universally in multiple fields and applications by 2030. Since Intel is one of many members of this alliance, it is no surprise the Alliance and Intel have similar applications in mind for 2030.

Devices that need Wi-Fi 7 Certified standard will need to qualify by using this checklist of features:

  • 320 MHz channels: available in countries that make the 6 GHz band available to 
    Wi-Fi, ultra-wide channels double today’s widest channel size to facilitate multigigabit device speeds and high throughput
  • Multi-Link Operation (MLO): allows devices to transmit and receive data simultaneously over multiple links for increased throughput, reduced latency, and improved reliability
  • 4K QAM: achieves 20% higher transmission rates than 1024 QAM 
  • 512 Compressed block-ack: improves efficiency and reduces overhead 
  • Multiple RUs to a single STA: improves flexibility for spectrum resource scheduling to enhance spectrum efficiency 
  • Triggered Uplink Access: optimizes Wi-Fi 6-defined triggered uplink access to accommodate latency-sensitive streams and satisfy QoS requirements
  • Emergency Preparedness Communication Services (EPCS): provides a seamless National Security & Emergency Preparedness (NSEP) service experience to users while maintaining the priority and quality of service in Wi-Fi access networks

Eric A. McLaughlin, VP & GM Wireless Solutions Group for Intel, said, "Intel-powered PCs and IOT products with Wi-Fi 7 will enable multi-gigabit speeds with wired-like responsiveness and new extreme levels of connection reliability. Ecosystem collaboration and interoperability are essential to help deliver on these expectations. We are delighted that our new Intel Wi-Fi 7 BE200 solution has been officially certified and included in the program test bed to help make great user experiences possible with other Wi-Fi 7 devices."

Qualcomm and Mediatek also mentioned the importance of this certification, emphasizing the features and benefits of the Wi-Fi 7 standard.

Main Advantages of Wi-Fi 7 Certification

TP-Link was one of the networking manufacturers that discussed the need for 320 MHz since this provides four times the throughput than the existing 160MHz. Because of this switch, Wi-Fi 7 Certified devices provide double the transmission throughput than Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E devices. The company used the example of wirelessly streaming 4K videos for home users as it is becoming more mainstream. Even the quality of online games for multiple devices has increased. Wi-Fi 7 also introduces 4096-QAM, Multi-RU, and Multi-Link Operation, allowing data to be sent and received between different frequency bands and channels. The certification guarantees these devices will have these.

To break it down in layperson's terms, the Alliance breaks down the benefits of each feature:

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Wi-Fi Certified 7: Advanced performance for the next generation Wi-Fi
320 MHz Channels2x higher throughput
Multi-Link Operation (MLO)Deterministic latency, increased efficiency and greater reliability
4K QAM20% higher transmission rates
512 Compressed Block AckReduced transmission overhead
Multiple RUs to a Single STAEnhanced spectral efficiency

Wi-Fi 7 devices will have backward compatibility, though devices without it won't be able to take advantage of a Wi-Fi 7-certified router and vice versa. Despite the late finalization of Wi-Fi 7 certification, we already have a few Wi-Fi 7 devices. During this month, many mobile devices, such as the OnePlus 12 and Samsung S24 series, have Wi-Fi compatibility—the same with notebooks, mini PCs, NUCs, portable gaming systems, and desktops. Wi-Fi 7 routers and mesh devices are already available, though the current offerings command a premium over Wi-Fi 6E.

However, due to increased requirements and the need to deploy quickly, we should see Wi-Fi 7 wireless routers and devices in almost all price segments in the coming days. Thanks to this certification, the Wi-Fi 7 certification ensures these features are available as a minimum standard.

Roshan Ashraf Shaikh
Contributing Writer

Roshan Ashraf Shaikh has been in the Indian PC hardware community since the early 2000s and has been building PCs, contributing to many Indian tech forums, & blogs. He operated Hardware BBQ for 11 years and wrote news for eTeknix & TweakTown before joining Tom's Hardware team. Besides tech, he is interested in fighting games, movies, anime, and mechanical watches.

  • DavidLejdar

    It does go far beyond what many end-users can currently make use of at home. Like, with an internet connection of 100 Mbps, a Wi-Fi 4 router can still be good enough, in terms of simple data transfer.

    But many may make use of Wi-Fi 7 soon enough, such as also in terms of public internet access points, or for mentioned business use (such as in a conference room, where it will need only one Wi-Fi 7 router to connect many a laptop to the internet or internal server), and for some potential personal use (e.g. streaming graphics from PC to VR headset - that is in terms of better latency, as a bit rate of some 40+ Gbps is not something current GPUs would churn out meaningfully, in regard to resolution and frame rate).
  • WiFiman430years
    I have been running a TP-Link BE19000 WiFi 7 router for the last 9 months and it has been running great. People forget that many improvement have happened to WiFi in the last 10 years and it is not just about speed. As more close neighbors get more devices and more WiFi networks along with your devices the need for better WiFi has also grown. Having Access to 6ghz and new protocols help you keep ahead of your neighbors with better WiFI. I have a brand new Google Pixel 8 Pro phone running in WiFi 7 and it gives me full 900mbps Internet. The range is fantastic and it covers my complete 1600 ranch home without a problem. I love how I can still use DFS on the 5ghz radios so I do not overlap my neighbors WiFi networks as I move devices to WiFi 7 support. I think this is the best WiFi router I have owned a it just got certified by the WiFi alliance for WiFi 7.
  • thestryker
    I've been waiting for the certification to land in hopes that some cheaper devices will come this year with it. I don't need the huge throughput, but the improved multi device technologies are what I'm looking for. Crossing fingers that there will be something triple band that drops below $300 this year.