Wi-Fi 7 Explained: Everything to Know About Tomorrow's Fastest Wireless Spec

Wi-Fi 7 Explained: Everything to Know About Tomorrow's Fastest Wireless Spec

Wi-Fi 7 devices will start appearing early in '23, and the next-gen standard promises peak speeds up to four times faster than Wi-Fi 6, which is itself still cutting edge. Here's what we know so far.

 Just as we are finally seeing a good number of Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E devices making their way into homes and offices, a new flavor of Wi-Fi is emerging. It promises to improve on the current standard by bringing higher data rates, lower latency, the ability to handle more connected devices, and more.
We know, we know—you've heard this all before. But this time, Wi-Fi's next step truly is a great leap forward, at least as far as speed is concerned. The new wireless standard is called Wi-Fi 7, or, if you prefer the classic Wi-Fi technobabble name, "802.11be." Development, on it is still ongoing, but it is sure to spawn a big crowd of new routers, mesh systems, and client devices when it does launch.
Those first appearances will be in early 2023; at this writing, router maker TP-Link had just announced a slate of pricey Archer router and Deco mesh Wi-Fi 7 gear to debut in Q1. Much more is sure to follow. So, Wi-Fi 7 should be on your radar if you’re thinking about updating your network in the near future. Here’s what you need to know about the coming successor to Wi-Fi 6.

What Is Wi-Fi 7? (And Isn't Wi-Fi 6 Still Cutting Edge?)

Whereas Wi-Fi 6 offers merely incremental speed increases over Wi-Fi 5, Wi-Fi 7 is all about lightning-fast connections. For that reason, industry jargon has settled on "802.11be EHT," for Extremely High Throughput. Here’s why: Although technical specifications are still being worked out, the new standard could deliver nominal peak data rates of more than 40Gbps(Opens in a new window). That's astonishing. To put that in perspective, Wi-Fi 7 will be more than four times faster than Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E, which can hit maximum data rates of 9.6Gbps, and close to six times faster than Wi-Fi 5, which maxes out at 6.9Gbps.


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