WiFi 7 is the next generation of this popular wireless technology that promises a giant leap forward over the previous two standards, Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E. It will use the same three bands (2.4 GHz, 5 GHz, and 6 GHz) as 6E, so you may wonder what the big deal is.
Well, there are a few reasons that WiFi 7 will be better than its predecessor. Firstly, there’s the increase from 160-megahertz channels to 320-megahertz channels as the maximum channel width. That gets you double the throughput, with theoretical data rates of roughly 30 gigabits per second and beyond.
With all the Wi-Fi standards up to and including 6E, your device connects to a single band. At close range, it might connect to 6 GHz, then hand off to 5 GHz as you move away from the router, and eventually switch to 2.4 GHz as you move farther off.
WiFi 7 boasts multilink operation, allowing devices to connect on multiple bands simultaneously. It can aggregate channels to send data across both at the same time or reduce latency by sending packets on whichever opens up first.
WiFi 7 routers will be allowed to use more power to boost that 6-GHz signal, expanding its range significantly. And they can do this because of automated frequency coordination (AFC). AFC systems make calculations based on device location.
They cross-reference a database of microwave links in the area to tell the router which channels are available, to avoid interfering with incumbents. Put all that together, and you get leaps in speed, stability, and range.
The official certification process from the Wi-Fi Alliance could be ready before the end of the year. In a post sighted by TheGhanaTech.com, “WiFi 7 went into the technical development phase in June 2022, and it typically takes 18 to 24 months” says Robinson.
But with TP-Link taking preorders on Wi-Fi 7 systems already, and many manufacturers announcing new lines, the first precertified routers will land within months. Of course, they will be very expensive at first, and there won’t be many devices that can take advantage of them, but, like previous versions, Wi-Fi 7 will be backward-compatible.
All that is to say, if you need a new router now, you need it now. But temper your expectations about Wi-Fi 6E. For many people, spending a little less now, perhaps on a Wi-Fi 6 system, skipping Wi-Fi 6E, and saving to upgrade within the next couple of years as Wi-Fi 7 rolls out more widely is probably the better plan.