You might be waiting a while yet for Wi-Fi 7 support in Windows 11 – but Microsoft is on the case

A Netgear Nighthawk RS700S Wi-Fi 7 router on a table
(Image credit: Netgear)

Windows 11 is now adding support for Wi-Fi 7, those who want to use the much-improved wireless standard will doubtless be pleased to learn – but it’s only in testing currently.

That’s despite the fact that there are already Wi-Fi 7 routers out there, and the standard has been officially finalized by the Wi-Fi Alliance (the Wi-Fi Certified 7 program was announced at the start of January 2024, in fact).

As you might guess, it’ll be some time before official Wi-Fi 7 support comes through to the release version of Windows 11, as it’ll need to progress through testing channels first.

Right now, it’s only in the Canary (earliest) test channel with build 26063, a preview release that flew under our radar somewhat, but an important one in this respect. However, it’s also been added for Dev channel testers, Microsoft informed us in the usual blog post on build 26063 (as flagged up by XDA Developers).

WiFi 7 in Windows 11

(Image credit: Microsoft)

As the software giant also pointed out, Wi-Fi 7 (aka 802.11be) is in the order of 4x faster than Wi-Fi 6 and more like 6x quicker than Wi-Fi 5.

If you want to know more about how this new wireless standard takes some big strides forward – and it isn’t just about raw speed, though that is, of course, very important – check out our guide to the ins-and-outs of Wi-Fi 7.

Analysis: Wireless party

In fairness to Microsoft, while it appears to be pretty late to the wireless party, and Wi-Fi 7 may have officially kicked off (at least in some countries, the US, Australia, and UK included), it's still early days for the standard.

The standard may be effectively set in stone now, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be tweaks going forward. There will inevitably be firmware updates for existing Wi-Fi 7 routers to fix or modify things going forward as needed, although all the big cogs in terms of features are now in place.

Windows 11 is one of the final pieces of the puzzle to be added for Wi-Fi 7 support, then, for laptops which sport Wi-Fi 7. And of course as mentioned, you’ll need a Wi-Fi 7 router to benefit from faster wireless speeds. (Those devices are expensive right now, too, it should be noted – though that’s generally true of any cutting-edge tech).

With Wi-Fi 7 we’re getting performance which makes wireless online gaming a reality in terms of it being close to wired (Ethernet) performance, and certainly much better than other fudges for PCs that aren’t plugged directly into the router (such as powerline adapters, which can be notoriously flaky in some scenarios).

What about Windows 10 support for Wi-Fi 7? We’re still not sure on that score, although the last we heard was that it is inbound – but there’s no sign of that yet.

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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).