Intel and Broadcom hit 5Gbps in Wi-Fi 7 demo

What happened now? This week, Intel and Broadcom held the first successful demonstration of cross-vendor Wi-Fi 7 (also known as 802.11be) connectivity. This event marks a milestone on the road to the next major step in Wi-Fi standards. Wi-Fi 7 devices are likely to become more common in the next few years.

In a joint presentation by Intel and Broadcom connected a laptop with one of its processors to a Broadcom Wi-Fi 7 modem reaching speeds of 5 Gbps. The test shows a dramatic jump from the current standard, Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax), which can reach approximately 1.7 Gbps.

In addition to speeds up to 5.8 Gbps, the new Wi-Fi 7 band frequencies and channel bandwidths provide routers with more stable simultaneous connections to more devices. Wi-Fi 6 can access 20, 40, 80, and 160 MHz channel bandwidths on 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. Wi-Fi 7 adds a 320MHz channel and a 6GHz frequency, intelligently switching between all frequencies and channels to improve stability. Intel believes Wi-Fi 7 will help new technologies such as augmented reality, virtual reality, and 16K media streaming.

The Wi-Fi 6E standard adds 6 GHz support to Wi-Fi 6 for more bandwidth, but it lacks support from hardware vendors. Supply chain issues due to the pandemic have made producing Wi-Fi 6E compatible products less cost-effective than using Wi-Fi 6 before Wi-Fi 7. Before Apple introduced the iPhone 14 this week, it was assumed that it may include Wi-Fi 6E. However, Apple’s official specification for its latest phone is shoots those rumors have dissipated, and the Wi-Fi 7-enabled iPhone likely won’t arrive anytime soon.

Intel said last month that Wi-Fi 7 enabled laptops and desktops should be ready for the mainstream market in 2024 and 2025. Other companies have recently demonstrated Wi-Fi 7 hardware using preliminary specifications. IEEE may complete development of Wi-Fi 7 specifications in 2024.

MediaTek showcased the upcoming standard at CES in January using their hardware rather than a trial version from various vendors. Qualcomm has been touting Wi-Fi 7 since 2019 and finally unveiled its near-platform independent FastConnect 7800 chip in March at MWC. The only Wi-Fi 7 router currently available is the H3C Magic BE18000 with a maximum physical speed of 1148 to 11530 Mbps.

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