Qualcomm details 'world's first' Wi-Fi 7 chip

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Qualcomm has shown off the ‘world’s first’ Wi-Fi 7 compatible product at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona.

The company claims the FastConnect 7800 connectivity chip will enable peak speeds of 5.8Gbps and sub-2 millisecond latency in a variety of devices – once compatible network equipment is available.

As the name suggests, Wi-Fi 7 is the latest generation of wireless internet technology. However, standardisation is still at an early stage and the World Broadband Alliance (WBA) does not expect the first Wi-Fi 7 devices to be available until 2025.

Wi-Fi 7 connectivity

Nonetheless, some within the industry believe this timeline could be accelerated. Qualcomm is expected to release the FastConnect 7800 in the second half of 2022, paving the way for it to be included in commercially-available devices that will still benefit from the rollout of Wi-Fi 6 and 6E before Wi-Fi 7 becomes mainstream.

The chip achieves the headline speed and latency performance through a technique called High Band Simultaneous (HBS) multi-link technology which uses both the 5GHz and 6GHz band at the same time. This reserves the 2.4GHz band, which is typically more congested, for Bluetooth use.

Bluetooth power consumption, range and pairing speed itself is boosted through the use of Dual Bluetooth technology, which when combined with Snapdragon Sound Technology, should make any device powered by the chip able to deliver superior audio performance.

Qualcomm says all of these characteristics will deliver the connectivity performance necessary for future smartphones, PCs and extended reality headsets.

“Introducing the first Wi-Fi 7 solution to the industry might be enough for some, but with the introduction of HBS Multi-Link we take performance to the next level, shattering expectations for speed and latency,” said Dino Bekis, vice president and general manager, Mobile Compute and Connectivity at Qualcomm Technologies. 

“Coupled with up to 50% lower power consumption and Intelligent Dual Bluetooth with advanced Snapdragon Sound capabilities, FastConnect 7800 is simply the best client connectivity offering in the industry.”

Before then, Wi-Fi 6 should establish itself in the marketplace. The standard generational shift in wireless communications and is viewed as a complementary technology to 5G, boosting speeds, enhancing capacity, and lowering latency. This guarantees a higher degree of performance and reliability, especially in networks where multiple devices are competing for bandwidth.

In the telecoms sector, providers will be able to improve Wi-Fi speeds at home and offer converged networking services that combine fixed and mobile technologies for consumers and businesses.

Meanwhile Wi-Fi 6E builds on this through the use of 6GHz spectrum, powering speeds of more than 2Gbps and two-millisecond low latency.

The WBA says as many as 83% of service providers, equipment manufacturers, and enterprises will have adopted Wi-Fi 6 technology by the end of 2022.

If you can't wait for Wi-Fi 7 then our best Wi-Fi Extenders will help you boost your signal at home

Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.