Wi-Fi 7 may not exist in today’s devices, but that doesn’t stop Intel from going ahead with it. Intel plans to introduce WiFi 7 sometime in 2024, just as Apple turns to Wi-Fi 6E for its next devices. Intel will double down on Wi-Fi 7 development efforts over the next year, according to Eric McLaughlin, vice president of wireless solutions at Intel.
“We are currently developing Intel’s ‘802.11be’ Wi-Fi to achieve ‘Wi-Fi Alliance’ certification, and it will be installed in PC products such as laptops by 2024,” McLaughlin said at a press conference today. “We expect it to appear in major markets in 2025.”
The newest and fastest Wi-Fi available right now is WiFi 6E. It supports 6GHz spectrum, allowing for a ton more bandwidth than previous Wi-Fi 6. Quadruples the number of available waves and increases speed to 2.6GBps from 2GBps available on Wi-Fi 6. The technology was recently launched in late 2020 after a year of development and FCC approval in the United States. Apple has adopted Wi-Fi 6E for its upcoming devices, such as the iPhone 14.
But Wi-Fi 7 is a different beast altogether. Intel claims that Wi-Fi 7 will stabilize the 6GHz bandwidth while providing speeds of 5.8Gbps. That’s blazingly fast and more than double what’s available with Wi-Fi 6E. Additionally, Wi-Fi 7 is future-proof, as it will be ready to embrace increased bandwidth up to 7GHz, if and when the FCC opens it up in a few years.
“Wi-Fi 7 almost doubles the frequency bandwidth of 802.11ax (170 MHz) to 320 MHz and doubles the speed of Wi-Fi,” McLaughlin told reporters. “Given that there is more than a year left before the release of 802.11be, there is still a chance that we can further improve the processing speed.”
For context, the average Wi-Fi speed in the United States in 2021, when connected to 1GBps broadband Internet, was less than 20MBps. Most Wi-Fi routers and receivers use less than 50% of their capacities for various reasons, such as multiple users on the same network, firewalls, and other bottlenecks. So homes and offices with high-speed Internet connections are likely not getting the full speeds they’re paying for due to Wi-Fi limitations.
Intel hopes to change that with Wi-Fi 7. High-speed Wi-Fi can take advantage of high-speed Internet and improves gaming, media streaming, video calling, and overall data processing speeds.