Wi-Fi 7 is nearly here – 2024 could be the year wireless speeds get turbocharged

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Wi-Fi 7 is going to be official, by which we mean finalized, before the end of the first quarter of 2024.

Word has come from the Wi-Fi Alliance (sworn enemies of the Bluetooth Empire – or maybe not) that next-gen Wi-Fi, also known as 802.11be, will become a concrete standard by the end of Q1 next year, as opposed to the draft version it has been for some time now.

As Tom’s Hardware reports, the Wi-Fi Alliance tells us: “Wi-Fi Certified 7, based on IEEE 802.11be technology, will be available before the end of Q1 2024. Wi-Fi 7 devices are entering the market today, and Wi-Fi Certified 7 will facilitate worldwide interoperability and bring advanced Wi-Fi performance to the next era of connected devices.”

Never mind all the buzzwords and such, you’re probably thinking – how much faster is Wi-Fi 7? It’ll offer speeds up to 40 Gbit/s and will be the best part of five times quicker than Wi-Fi 6 – so yes, nippy, in short.

Analysis: Drafty business

Clearly, it’s good news to see Wi-Fi 7 is rolling towards the standard being set in stone within the next few months.

You may be a bit confused as to what’s going on with Wi-Fi 7 not quite being officially ‘done’ and yet routers are already out there with support for 802.11be. Well, those routers are built with the existing draft Wi-Fi 7 standard, but when it’s finalized early next year, it will only take a firmware update for that hardware to be brought up to speed (literally).

Wi-Fi 7 will still depend on having client devices support it, though. By which we mean it’s all very well having a Wi-Fi 7 router, but if your phone, tablet, laptop or whatever doesn’t support it as well, then you won’t benefit from the extra speed (though the devices will still be compatible with the router, of course).

Not that many devices come with Wi-Fi 7 support yet – there are some, like the Xiaomi 13 Pro and Oppo Find X6 Pro phones, for example, and Lenovo Legion Slim 7 laptop – but expect the numbers to increase swiftly going forward.

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Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).