Wi-Fi 7 hardware demos herald next-gen wireless networking

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Wi-Fi 6E products only started arriving in the US last year, but the tech world is always looking toward what's next. Wi-Fi 7 represents the next generation of the wireless network protocol, and today marks the first time someone has claimed to make the technology work.

Wi-Fi 7 isn't available yet, since the Wi-Fi Alliance is still creating the standard. Also known as the IEEE 802.11be standard, Wi-Fi 7 is expected to provide a max throughput of "at least 30GBps," according to the Wi-FI Alliance, which is quite a bump from Wi-Fi 6's 9.6GBps claim and an even bigger jump from WiFi 5's 3.5GBps. Keep in mind, however, that all three speeds are theoretical. Don't expect to hit these numbers while surfing the web at home.

The next Wi-Fi standard aims to manage the growing networking needs of evolving technologies, like 4K and 8K streaming, virtual and augmented reality, and cloud gaming and computing, by reducing latency and jitter through improvements to the physical (PHY) layer and medium access control (MAC).

Wi-Fi 7 should also be backward compatible with products using the 2.4, 5, and 6 GHz spectrum bands, but there's still a lot to learn about the upcoming technology. News of Wi-Fi 7 being demoed, however, means more people are starting to see the protocol in action.

Today, MediaTek said it is conducting the first live demos of Wi-Fi 7. Its customers and "industry collaborators" are checking out the pair of demonstrations through MediaTek’s Wi-Fi 7 Filogic connectivity portfolio, which includes Wi-Fi chips.

Alan Hsu, corporate VP and GM of the Intelligent Connectivity business at MediaTek, provided some insight into where the company sees its future Wi-Fi 7 chips going, pointing to "home, office, and industrial networks" and multiplayer AR/VR applications, cloud gaming, and 4K and 8K streaming.

Additionally, a MediaTek spokesperson told Ars Technica that the company "will have Wi-Fi 7 technology and chips as part of our full connectivity portfolio across our product portfolio (similar to how we do that now with Wi-Fi 6, which is leveraging across product lines like Chromebooks, smartphones, etc.)." MediaTek's current Wi-Fi 6 and 6E-based chips are used in various applications, from consumer routers to laptops, TVs, cameras, business-level routers, and the greater Internet of Things.
Wi-Fi 7 release date ?

Without the protocol even finalized yet, it's hard to know when we'll see routers and other products carrying the Wi-Fi 7 label. However, MediaTek, which has been helping to develop the standard, claimed that devices are expected to become available in 2023. We've reached out to the Wi-Fi Alliance for more information and will update this article if we hear back.