Intel has proclaimed that “the Wi-Fi future is here” after successfully demonstrating Wi-Fi 7 technology with partner Broadcom. In the over-the-air demos, a Wi-Fi 7 connection between an Intel Core-powered laptop and a Broadcom access point achieved a steady 5 Gbps transfer speed. This is a worthwhile upgrade versus Wi-Fi 6, which maxes out at 1 Gbps.
As the Intel news blog highlights, industry collaboration is essential to ensure the widespread adoption of Wi-Fi 7 and its practical benefits. Having one Wi-Fi 7 in one category of devices but no other is pretty useless.
Broadcom chimed in to assert that “the ecosystem is ready.” It highlighted the value of Wi-Fi 7 goes beyond simple speed increases to deliver greater network capacity and the benefits of much lower latencies. The reduced latencies will be invaluable for immersive experiences over Wi-Fi, with the most obvious applications being online gaming and reduced latency wireless VR headsets. For media streamers, it also opens up the eye-popping possibility of UHD 16K streaming (or more people on the network streaming 4K or 8K videos). Last but not least, the newest Wi-Fi standard could help reduce wireless network traffic jams in busy homes and offices.
The underlying technologies behind Wi-Fi 7 include wider 320 MHz channels in unlicensed 6GHz spectrum and higher order 4K QAM data modulation. Intel’s blog also outlined the importance of multi-link operation and improved channel utilization efficiency.
Video: demo compares Wi-Fi 6 on the 5 GHz band, vs. Wi-Fi 6E on the 6 GHz band, vs. Wi-Fi 7 on the 6 GHz band.
These are still early days for Wi-Fi 7, as it isn’t expected to be certified until next year, with products bearing the Wi-Fi 7 logo perhaps not appearing until H2 2023. However, last month an Intel exec was quoted as saying Wi-Fi 7 will start to be “installed in PC products such as laptops by 2024.” As one (code)name is never enough, Wi-Fi 7 devices will also be referenced as featuring the “Wi-Fi 802.11be” connectivity protocol.
A positive from the lengthy sounding rollout timescale is that Wi-Fi 7 speeds could be further enhanced in the interim. Hopefully, Wi-Fi 7 will catch on quickly, inspired by the attractive transfer speeds and latency benefits. It will also be welcomed if Wi-Fi 7 device rollout isn’t hampered by the component shortage problems, which slowed Wi-Fi 6E device availability.
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Mark Tyson is a Freelance News Writer at Tom's Hardware US. He enjoys covering the full breadth of PC tech; from business and semiconductor design to products approaching the edge of reason.
Finally wifi will be faster than the 1gbps 20th century network ports that still come on some mobos...Reply
Very strange numbers. My quite old Samsung S8 connects at 1.083 Gbps and that's 802.11ac wave1 2x2 (so called "Wi-Fi 5"). Actual transfer speed is of course a bit less, like -10%.Reply
So that "Wi-Fi 6, which maxes out at 1 Gbps" is complete nonsense.