Intel and Broadcom show off Wi-Fi 7 reaching 5Gbps

Daniel Sims

Posts: 667   +27
What just happened? Intel and Broadcom held the first successful demonstration of a "cross-vendor" Wi-Fi 7 connection this week. The event marks a milestone on the road to the next major step in Wi-Fi standards. Wi-Fi 7 (also known as 802.11be) devices will likely become more common over the next few years.

In a joint presentation, Intel and Broadcom linked a laptop running one of its processors to a Broadcom Wi-Fi 7 modem, achieving speeds of 5Gbps. The trial showcases a drastic leap over the current standard --Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) --which can reach up to around 1.7Gbps.

In addition to allowing speeds up to 5.8Gbps, Wi-Fi 7's new band frequencies and channel bandwidths give routers more stable simultaneous connections to larger numbers of devices. Wi-Fi 6 can access 20, 40, 80, and 160MHz channel bandwidths in the 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies. Wi-Fi 7 adds a 320MHz channel and a 6GHz frequency, intelligently switching between all frequencies and channels for increased stability. Intel thinks Wi-Fi 7 will help emerging technologies like augmented reality, virtual reality, and 16K media streaming.

The Wi-Fi 6E standard adds 6GHz support to Wi-Fi 6 for greater bandwidth but lacks buy-in from hardware vendors. Pandemic supply chain problems made manufacturing Wi-Fi 6E-compliant products less cost-effective than sticking with Wi-Fi 6 until Wi-Fi 7 arrives. Before Apple unveiled the iPhone 14 this week, speculation suggested it might incorporate Wi-Fi 6E. However, Apple's official spec sheet for its latest phone shoots those rumors down, and a Wi-Fi 7-ready iPhone likely won't appear for some time.

Last month, Intel said it should have Wi-Fi 7-capable laptops and desktops ready for the mass market in 2024 and 2025. Other companies have recently demonstrated Wi-Fi 7 hardware using the draft specifications. The IEEE could finalize the Wi-Fi 7 specifications in 2024.

MediaTek demonstrated the upcoming standard at CES in January using its hardware rather than a cross-vendor trial. Qualcomm has hyped Wi-Fi 7 since 2019 and finally unveiled its nearly platform-agnostic FastConnect 7800 chip in March at MWC. The only Wi-FI 7 router currently available is H3C's Magic BE18000 with a maximum PHY rate between 1148 and 11530Mbps.

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Mr Majestyk

Posts: 1,448   +1,352
6GHz sucks for range and penetration, it's a fair bit worse than 5GHz. Imagine the egregious pricing of a 3 unit mesh system. I'll bet in Australia we hit $1.5k+


Posts: 147   +177
Meanwhile my isp increased the monthly cost of my 200mbps plan. What's the point to have wifi 7 when US has the worst ISPs among the developed countries?


Posts: 251   +180
6GHz sucks for range and penetration, it's a fair bit worse than 5GHz. Imagine the egregious pricing of a 3 unit mesh system. I'll bet in Australia we hit $1.5k+

Easy to fix by increasing power. Doesn't everyone want to glow in the dark, like nuclear power plant workers?


Posts: 696   +585
The increase in speed don't matter to most people as they basically just use the router/mesh for internet. In addition, I do agree that the range is going to get worst. Mesh is not going to matter much because it is not likely for you to realize the full 5Gbps with the satellite units. So on paper, it sounds great. In real life, its pointless and costly.