Wi-Fi 7 was announced by the Wi-Fi Alliance earlier this week at CES 2024, bringing several improvements to the connectivity standard. In addition to faster speeds — Wi-Fi 7 will be up to four times faster than the previous version, Wi-Fi 6E — customers can look forward to new improvements like Multi-Link Operation, support for 320MHz channels for Wi-Fi networks, and 4K Quadrature Amplitude Modulation. We can expect to see more Wi-Fi 7 compatible routers and devices arrive over the course of 2024.
According to details shared by the Wi-Fi Alliance when it launched the latest IEEE standard on Monday, Wi-Fi 7 — or IEEE 802.11be — supports speeds of up to 40Gbps, which is four times faster than Wi-Fi 6E networks that offer a peak speed of 10Gbps. While Wi-Fi 7 is backwards compatible, it’s worth noting that you will only be able to take advantage of the higher speeds if both your router and phone support Wi-Fi 7 connectivity.
Another major upgrade that is coming alongside Wi-Fi 7 is Multi-Link Operation (MLO). This feature is designed to cut down on latency while simultaneously boosting the stability of the Wi-Fi network, by allowing devices on the network to simultaneously transfer information and data over several frequency bands, according to the Wi-Fi Alliance.
Wi-Fi 7 also comes with support for wider channel bandwidth, which in turn boosts throughput on a network. You will be able to take advantage of a wider 320MHz bandwidth — up from 160MHz on Wi-Fi 6E networks. It also uses the new band, just like W-Fi 6E that was introduced in 2021, which will help to cut down on network congestion experienced on older Wi-Fi networks.
Meanwhile, Wi-Fi 7 features another notable upgrade — 4K Quadrature Amplitude Modulation (QAM). On wireless networks, users will see up to 20 percent faster data transfer rates. Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-FI 6E networks offered support for 1024-QAM while decade-old Wi-Fi 5 standard arrived with 512-QAM.
While new Wi-Fi 7 capable routers were announced at CES 2024, it could be a while before new devices that are compatible with the new Wi-Fi standard arrive. Some devices — include those powered by the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 series chip and Intel’s latest 14th Gen Core Ultra chips — already support Wi-Fi 7 networks.
Meanwhile, Apple is expected to bring support for Wi-Fi 7 networks with its upcoming devices expected to debut later this year — this include the iPhone 16 Pro models, that are expected to be equipped with the company’s next-generation chip. Over 233 million Wi-Fi 7 devices are expected to enter the market this year, according to the Wi-Fi Alliance.