We’re still waiting for WiFi 6E to make a dent on the world, but the next evolution is on the way, as WiFi 7 is announced.
The world is wireless, and not just because your phone and earphones lack cords. A world without cables is just where we’re headed, and while you probably don’t use network cables for much at the moment, we’re moving to a time where you may not beyond plugging your modem into broadband in general.
Your phone has 4G and 5G, and your home network has connection technologies such as WiFi 5’s 802.11ac, WiFi 6’s 802.11ax, plus WiFi 6E’s upgrade to 802.11ax with the 6GHz band. That last one is new, but rolling out this year across more homes and businesses, and supported by more devices.
But it won’t be the end. Much like how 8K will eventually take over 4K (when there’s more content) and then 10 or 16K after that, another wireless networking protocol will come after WiFi 6, and Qualcomm is talking it up at Mobile World Congress this week: WiFi 7.
It’s still a while off yet, but the technology is coming in a chip announced by Qualcomm, what will likely be the first of many. The maker of the Snapdragon chip in this year’s Galaxy S22+, WiFi 7 is set to change wireless networking performance by replacing the 2.4GHz connections you can find in WiFi 5 and WiFi 6 networks, replacing them with 5 and 6GHz, and essentially offering as many as four 5GHz and 6GHz bands to connect on.
While that might come across as a lot of jargon, it essentially means WiFi 7 will deliver more bandwidth for devices in your home, offering speeds as high as 5.8Gbps, not far off Telstra’s 5G benchmark of 5.9Gbps. To put it simply, that’s the ability to move roughly 700MB across your network in a second, and a full gigabyte in not much more.
Qualcomm’s FastConnect 7800 chipset appears to be one of the first to offer this technology, arriving with support for WiFi 6 and WiFi 6E, as well as older 802.11a/b/g/n/ac technologies.
However, we also don’t quite know what product the chip or technology will land in and when. Qualcomm’s announcement does seem to suggest a new variation of WiFi is likely going to pop up in the next couple of years, although right now, if you’re looking to upgrade, you can probably keep your eyes trained on WiFi 6E, since it’s the one coming next.