WiFi 7 arrived at CES 2023, but do you need it this year?

    Over the years, our WiFi standards have been through a number of version changes, each offering faster speed than the last. At the biggest electronics show of the year, Consumer Electronic Show 2023, Asus announced the RT-BE96U, the first WiFi 7 router.

    While home in Australia would be running on WiFi 5 or 6, we look forward to WiFi and wonder, is it something you should care about and is it so much better that you should upgrade this year?

    Before we get into the potential speeds and benefits available with WiFi 7, it’s important to understand the different versions, as the switch to naming WiFi standards by number, rather than their actual name, is still a fairly recent one.

    • IEEE 802.11a
    • IEEE 802.11b
    • IEEE 802.11g
    • WiFi 4 (802.11n)
    • WiFi 5 (802.11ac)
    • WiFi 6 (802.11ax)
    • WiFi 6E (802.11ax)
    • WiFi 7 (802.11be)

    The latest and greatest, WiFi 7, is capable of delivering wireless speeds up to an insane 19,000 Mbps between devices in your home and business. The way it achieves this is not from single band, but rather leverages 2.4Ghz, 5GHz and 6GHz.. and Asus combines the data rate of each to achieve that number.

    • WiFi 7 (802.11be) (2.4Ghz): up to 1376 Mbps
    • WiFi 7 (802.11be) (5Ghz): up to 5762 Mbps
    • WiFi 7 (802.11be) (6Ghz): up to 11525 Mbps

    The new 6 GHz frequency band with 320MHz bandwidth & 4096 QAM (a method of combining two amplitude modulation (AM) signals into a single channel) allows for as much as 2X the data rate of WiFi 6E. ​

    One of the biggest selling points of WiFi 6, was not so much it’s overall bandwidth, but rather the ability to do multiple things simultaneously, without impacting the performance of others. WiFi 7 takes that and goes even further.

    WiFi 7 should offer consistent ultra-low latency, making it great for 8K streaming, AR/VR, gaming and more. If you’re in a rental and can’t wire ethernet through your home, WiFi 7 should give you the closest experience to a wired connection yet.

    There’s still all the usual fancy technology like beam forming to make the performance of your signal throughout your house as good as it can be, adjusting the power of transmission in particular directions to increase performance.

    As impressive as this WiFi 7 router is from Asus, they weren’t sharing pricing, which means it’s still some time before you’ll be able to buy it. Technically, the IEEE 802.11be standard wasn’t supposed to be due till 2024, but it seems manufacturers are going early and 2023 will be the first year we see products on the market.

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    Jason Cartwright
    Jason Cartwright
    Creator of techAU, Jason has spent the dozen+ years covering technology in Australia and around the world. Bringing a background in multimedia and passion for technology to the job, Cartwright delivers detailed product reviews, event coverage and industry news on a daily basis. Disclaimer: Tesla Shareholder from 20/01/2021

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