As 2023 begins, we’ve seen quite a few Wi-Fi 7 wireless routers announced to be available later this year. “But wait, I just bought a new Wi-Fi 6/Wi-Fi 6E router, is it outdated?”
For better or worse, technology advances rapidly, and so does the world of networking. So what exactly is Wi-Fi 7 and what are its advantages over the Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E standards? best gaming router today? It has all the details to keep you up to date with what to expect from the next generation of wireless standards.
Wi-Fi 7 basics
Let’s start with the basics. The consumer name for the new generation wireless standard is Wi-Fi 7, but the official name is 802.11be. Wi-Fi 7 builds on the foundation provided by Wi-Fi 6E. That means 2.4GHz, 5Ghz and 6GHz wireless bands are supported.
Wi-Fi 7 is designed to significantly increase transfer speeds, reduce latency, and increase overall network capacity for clients. Wi-Fi 7 should accommodate the inevitable arrival of 8K video streaming and the continued promise of immersive, low-latency augmented reality (XR) applications for industrial and gaming.
Wi-Fi 6 vs Wi-Fi 6E vs Wi-Fi 7
|Header Cell – Column 0||Wi-Fi-6||Wi-Fi 6E||Wi-Fi 7|
|radio band||2.4GHz, 5GHz||2.4GHz, 5GHz, 6GHz||2.4GHz, 5GHz, 6GHz|
|Maximum channel bandwidth||160Hz||160Hz||320Hz|
|maximum spatial stream||8||8||16|
|Maximum bandwidth per stream||1200Mbps||1200Mbps||2400Mbps|
|Theoretical maximum data rate||9.6Gbps||9.6Gbps||46Gbps|
As expected with any new wireless standard, Wi-Fi 7 will be backwards compatible with all previous iterations of Wi-Fi 6E, Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 5. Your existing wireless gear if you’re buying a new Wi-Fi 7 router. However, if you want to enjoy all the performance benefits of Wi-Fi 7, you’ll need to use a Wi-Fi 7-based client to connect to your router.
Multilink operation and QAM
Wi-Fi 5 introduced multi-user, multiple-input, multiple-output (MU-MIMO). It is designed to better support multiple clients accessing the wireless access point simultaneously. Wi-Fi 5 supports MU-MIMO downlink, while Wi-Fi 6/6E supports MU-MIMO uplink.
Wi-Fi 7 doubles the MU-MIMO streams from 8 to 16 and adds multilink operation (MLO) to the mix. With current wireless standards, the client selects her one band to transmit data. Clients automatically switch when conditions change and it becomes more efficient to operate on a different band.
For example, a Wi-Fi 6E router will select one channel on one band (2.4GHz, 5GHz, or 6GHz) when connecting to a Wi-Fi 6E client. However, with MLO, Wi-Fi 7 routers can simultaneously connect to Wi-Fi 7 clients over multiple wireless bands and channels as a single aggregated connection.
Instead of connecting to a single 2.4GHz, 5GHz, or 6GHz channel like Wi-Fi 6E, Wi-Fi 7 allows clients to use all three bands simultaneously. This reduces latency, significantly increases data rates, improves load balancing across bands, and increases network reliability by duplicating packets across multiple links.
QAM (Quadrature Amplitude Modulation) is a method of converting data packets into analog signals that are transmitted wirelessly. Wi-Fi 6E supports 1024 QAM, but Wi-Fi 7 bumps it up to 4K QAM. Increasing from 1024 QAM to 4K QAM improves throughput by 20%. The result is improved efficiency, capacity and data transfer speed compared to Wi-Fi 6/6E.
Wider Channels and Preamble Puncturing
Wi-Fi 6E offered bandwidths up to 160MHz. Wi-Fi 7 doubles the maximum available bandwidth in the 6 GHz band to 320 Hz (3 channels). If your access points and clients are compliant, the wider 320Hz channel provided by Wi-Fi 7 can transmit more data.
Additionally, Wi-Fi 7 supports preamble puncturing. This allows the client to use the spectrum previously occupied by another user. The Intel-provided example above uses 40MHz of wireless spectrum (out of a total channel bandwidth of 320MHz). Puncturing allows the unused 280MHz of bandwidth to be allocated to clients.
When will Wi-Fi 7 devices be available for purchase?
No Wi-Fi 7 routers or client adapters have shipped yet, but a few have already been announced and some are available for pre-order. Magic BE18000 It was released last summer, but it hasn’t been sold in North America, nor anywhere else.
In November, TP-Link announced six Wi-Fi 7 routers. Two of them are already listed on Amazon and should ship in the next few months.
For serious performance junkies, the quad-band TP-Link Archer BE24000 offers a total of 24.4 Gbps of bandwidth. All of these routers are equipped with an LCD touchscreen for accessing system vitals, local time/temperature and more. Archer BE24000 features 12 internal antennas, dual 10 GbE ports and 4 2.5 GbE ports.
If you are looking for a mesh router route, TP-Link offers the Deco BE33000. This mesh routing system comes with 1 router and 1 satellite that can cover up to 7,800 square feet (which is quite remarkable for a 2-node system). It’s also a quad-band solution, but it only includes two 10 GbE ports and two 2.5 GbE ports.of TP-Link Deco BE33000 (opens in new tab) When Deco BE33000 (opens in new tab) They will be available on March 15th, priced at $699 and $1,199 respectively.
At CES 2023, Asus ROG Rapture GT-BE98 and RT-BE96UThe spider-shaped ROG Rapture GT-BE98 features one 2.4GHz band, two 5GHz bands, and one 6GHz band. It offers up to 25,000 Mbps of available network bandwidth, three 10 Gbps LAN ports and four 1 Gbps LAN ports. The RT-BE96U is similar but offers a single 5GHz band and two 10Gbps LAN ports.
MSI also announced the RadiX BE22200 Turbo. This is a distinctive Wi-Fi 7 router with his four antenna “blades” sticking out from the base. It may not seem like anything special at first, but the blade can detect the location of connected clients and physically move them to “change antenna patterns for best performance”. can.
As its name suggests, the RadiX BE22000 Turbo supports up to 22,000 Mbps bandwidth across three bands (one each for 2.4GHz, 5GHz, and 6GHz). This router also provides two 10 GbE ports and four 2.5 GbE ports.
All of these products are expected to launch in the second half of 2023.