Wi-Fi 7 speeds are almost as fast as Thunderbolt 3

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The next generation of consumer wireless networking could provide connections with extremely high speeds, with initial demonstrations of Wi-Fi 7 delivering about the same speed as Thunderbolt 3.




Current consumer electronics generally support Wi-Fi 6 and earlier technologies, with a few starting to use Wi-Fi 6E. Though it could still be a while away from being adopted in consumer hardware, it seems that hardware vendors are starting to test out the technology.

Semiconductor producer MediaTek has been demonstrating Wi-Fi 7 to "key customers and industry collaborators," including a successful completion of the world's first live demo, reports Digitaltrends. The test included a demonstration of MediaTek's WiFi 7 "Filogic" technology, to help achieve the maximum speed capable of the upcoming standard.

Wi-Fi 7, also known as IEEE 802.11be, is expected to provide speeds approximately 2.4 times faster than that of Wi-Fi 6, using 2.4Ghz, 5GHz, and 6GHz spectrums. It does so by widening channels to 320Mhz, as well as supporting 4K quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM).

While Wi-Fi 6 can handle up to 9.6Gbps, the Wi-Fi Alliance says Wi-Fi 7 should be able to offer "at least 30" Gbps connections, and could potentially reach 40Gbps.

For reference, a Thunderbolt 3 connection can operate at up to 40 gigabits per second, with any single peripheral on the chain limited to 32 gigabits per second, in practice. In effect, a full-speed Wi-Fi 7 connection may offer near-to Thunderbolt 3 speeds, but wirelessly.

As part of the demonstration, MediaTek showed its multi-link operation (MLO) technology, which can combine multiple channels on different frequency bands. In effect, a connection could use different bands at the same time, which mitigates any potential interference or congestion on specific bands.

"The rollout of Wi-Fi 7 will mark the first time that Wi-Fi can be a true wireline/Ethernet replacement for super high-bandwidth applications," said VP and general manager if MediaTek's Intelligent Connectivity arm, Alan Hsu. The VP believes the technology could be used for the infrastructure of both home and business networks, and to "provide seamless connectivity for everything from multiplayer AR/VR applications to cloud gaming and 4K calls to 8K streaming and beyond."

For the moment, Wi-Fi 7 is still a draft specification, but it is anticipated to be certified by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) in 2024. Despite the two-year wait, MediaTek believes that the first consumer products capable of supporting Wi-Fi 7 could ship by 2023.

It's not clear when Apple might support Wi-Fi 7. Wi-Fi 6 is the fastest revision supported on Apple products in early 2022, and even flagship iPhone 13 Pro, plus 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro are using the older spec.

Read on AppleInsider
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 25
    dewmedewme Posts: 4,183member
    Wired Ethernet replacement? If 5 GHz WiFi is any indication I’m assuming the higher frequency 6 GHz channels will be very limited in terms of dealing with physical obstructions between communicating devices. This could be an excellent solution for line of sight local connections and to eliminate the rats  nest of wires on a desktop computer setup, or possibly servers inside a cabinet or wiring closet, but until they can figure out how to get wireless signals through impenetrable barriers to WiFi the need for wired connectivity will remain. 

    I’m not holding my breath on release timing. Heck, I only have one WiFi 6 capable device and won’t be upgrading my home infrastructure until I have several more devices that can actually take advantage of the WiFi 6 technology, much less WiFi 7. But good to see the WiFi development train still chugging along. 

    viclauyycmuthuk_vanalingampatchythepiratewatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 25
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 17,849member
    The problem there is you need an industrial-grade IP to even remotely take advantage, unless you’re talking about local networking.  I currently pay about 50 bucks a month for 300 mbs (FiOS).  The highest speed I’ve seen for consumers is 2Gbs.  You can get higher speeds with business plans, but they require special equipment and installation.  
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 25
    crowleycrowley Posts: 10,027member
    Very impressive.  My house has wired 10G ethernet, and I usually connect my MBP through an OWC Thunderbolt box at my desk.  But if WiFi 7 can beat that... I might finally move away from the trusty cables.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 25
    XedXed Posts: 1,433member
    sdw2001 said:
    The problem there is you need an industrial-grade IP to even remotely take advantage, unless you’re talking about local networking.  I currently pay about 50 bucks a month for 300 mbs (FiOS).  The highest speed I’ve seen for consumers is 2Gbs.  You can get higher speeds with business plans, but they require special equipment and installation.  
    I'm not following. I get 1.4 Gigs to my house but I have 10 GigE for wired devices and WiFi6 for wireless because my ISP speeds are slower than what I want and need inside. In fact my NAS is still too slow because I still use HDDs instead of SSDs.
    zigzaglensfahlmanwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 25
    tapetape Posts: 38member
    sdw2001 said:
    The problem there is you need an industrial-grade IP to even remotely take advantage, unless you’re talking about local networking.  I currently pay about 50 bucks a month for 300 mbs (FiOS).  The highest speed I’ve seen for consumers is 2Gbs.  You can get higher speeds with business plans, but they require special equipment and installation.  
    I currently have 10Gb ethernet stringing together two rooms in my apartment and then 1Gb to a third room. 40 Gb Wifi would render all of that instantly irrelevant.


    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 25
    ciacia Posts: 172member
    sdw2001 said:
    The problem there is you need an industrial-grade IP to even remotely take advantage, unless you’re talking about local networking.  I currently pay about 50 bucks a month for 300 mbs (FiOS).  The highest speed I’ve seen for consumers is 2Gbs.  You can get higher speeds with business plans, but they require special equipment and installation.  
    Two things.  The first is when I read this I instantly thought about internal (LAN) networking.  

    The second is that by the time this product is a reality, >1Gbe internet connections hopefully will be far more common.  We are talking about a broad rollout in the 2027-2028 area if the adoption of Wifi6/6e is any indication.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 25
    welshdogwelshdog Posts: 1,816member
    That's great but how about making it actually secure? Apparently it is still trivial to hack any WiFi.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 25
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,737moderator
    sdw2001 said:
    The problem there is you need an industrial-grade IP to even remotely take advantage, unless you’re talking about local networking.
    The main benefit will be local networks, even just wifi-direct. This will allow faster display streaming across devices. For untethered AR/VR, the display stream bandwidth is high:

    7680 x 4320 x 2 eyes x 90FPS x 24-bit = 143Gbps. Usually content can be compressed down 5:1 or more but compression introduces latency.
    3840 x 2160 x 2 eyes x 90FPS x 24-bit = 36Gbps. WiFi 7 would be fast enough for uncompressed 4K AR/VR.



    It's like HDMI over WiFi - Miracast and Apple's Airplay.

    There was a report about Apple's AR wearable overheating and assuming it was the processor but in the video above, the wireless transmitter had a fan because the transmitter/receiver gets hot with the data being sent continually. AR/VR products will get more compact, there's a compact one from HTC:



    These products are best being wireless. While on-board processing can be good enough for some uses, streaming content from a more powerful console/desktop will be needed in some instances and is the best way to get the product more compact and lower priced.
    viclauyycpatchythepiratewatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 25
    sdw2001 said:
    The problem there is you need an industrial-grade IP to even remotely take advantage, unless you’re talking about local networking.  I currently pay about 50 bucks a month for 300 mbs (FiOS).  The highest speed I’ve seen for consumers is 2Gbs.  You can get higher speeds with business plans, but they require special equipment and installation.  
    I feel so totally ripped off. I pay Charter Spectrum $75/month for just 100Mb/s
    sdw2001watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 25
    Almost all wireless schemes are disappointing.  Nothing ever comes close to what you think you bought.  Cellular 5G is a joke unless you're one of the lucky few who live in  an apartment right outside a 5G UW tower.   Every time I check speeds when I see full bars of 5G, it reminds me that all the carriers are lying to us.
    patchythepiratewatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 25
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 6,067member
    sdw2001 said:
    The problem there is you need an industrial-grade IP to even remotely take advantage, unless you’re talking about local networking.  I currently pay about 50 bucks a month for 300 mbs (FiOS).  The highest speed I’ve seen for consumers is 2Gbs.  You can get higher speeds with business plans, but they require special equipment and installation.  
    I feel so totally ripped off. I pay Charter Spectrum $75/month for just 100Mb/s
    I have true gigabit fiber (both up/down!) for $65/mo even. Comcast drops by periodically and I’m like, “You have nothing to offer me”. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 25
    320 MHz-wide channels are not good news.  The biggest win in 6 GHz (Wi-Fi 6e) is the fact that we get 14 non-overlapping 80 MHz channels capable of 1.2 Gbit/sec (for typical phones/laptops that support 2 spatial streams).  In 5 GHz, there were only 4 of those non-overlapping 80 MHz channels, creating huge interference problems in dense residential/commercial areas. With Wi-Fi 6e, everyone can finally have their gigabit.

    We simply don't have enough 6 GHz spectrum for people to be hogging 320 MHz with each Wi-Fi access point  It's rude.
    dewmewatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 25
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 5,945member
    WiFi has so much overhead to deal with, that even at 30-40gb/s, true throughput will be far lower. These advertised speeds will only apply to LAN speeds, as the average user's Internet bandwidth in the U.S. is roughly 100mb/s. Heck, even modern fiber connections are around 1gb/s. For the very long interim, I'll take wired ethernet any day for my stationary devices.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 25
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 2,911member
    Marvin said:
    sdw2001 said:
    The problem there is you need an industrial-grade IP to even remotely take advantage, unless you’re talking about local networking.
    The main benefit will be local networks, even just wifi-direct. This will allow faster display streaming across devices. For untethered AR/VR, the display stream bandwidth is high:

    7680 x 4320 x 2 eyes x 90FPS x 24-bit = 143Gbps. Usually content can be compressed down 5:1 or more but compression introduces latency.
    3840 x 2160 x 2 eyes x 90FPS x 24-bit = 36Gbps. WiFi 7 would be fast enough for uncompressed 4K AR/VR.
    I used to think "compression introduces latency" too, but do you remember floppy disk compression? It actually sped up throughput (contrary to what I expected) because there was less data to send to the slow disk. So I learned my lesson not to assume that compression introduces latency.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 25
    dewmedewme Posts: 4,183member
    m0dest said:
    320 MHz-wide channels are not good news.  The biggest win in 6 GHz (Wi-Fi 6e) is the fact that we get 14 non-overlapping 80 MHz channels capable of 1.2 Gbit/sec (for typical phones/laptops that support 2 spatial streams).  In 5 GHz, there were only 4 of those non-overlapping 80 MHz channels, creating huge interference problems in dense residential/commercial areas. With Wi-Fi 6e, everyone can finally have their gigabit.

    We simply don't have enough 6 GHz spectrum for people to be hogging 320 MHz with each Wi-Fi access point  It's rude.
    I was thinking the same thing about the 320 MHz channel widths, especially if you’re in a congested environment, which is something I’ve been dealing with. I doubt most WiFi users even know what channels, channels bandwidths, and RF power levels their router/APs are using. They are either using the default out-of-box settings for their equipment or the settings established by the installer of their equipment, i.e., the cable guy or a dude that just bought a new router/AP at Best Buy.

    Based on sampling I do to avoid interference when setting up or evaluating the performance of my APs I’d say that the default RF power level for most installations is set to max, especially on the 2 GHz channels, and most everyone is pretty much using the same channels. Everyone likes to see all of those signal bars/arcs on their devices lit up regardless of whether they are actually getting optimal throughput and AP-roaming performance and minimizing the battery drain on their portable devices.

    The good news for me is that it’s been easy to avoid interference by picking lesser used channels, having more reliance on 5 GHz, having more APs but running them at lower power, and using wired backhaul. All of these strategies work best with non-overlapping channels, which means limiting channel bandwidths.

    To a certain extent all of this fine tuning is somewhat tedious, so I’d be happy if these emerging WiFi standards introduced more protocols for actively negotiating the utilization of spectrum to avoid interference in congested scenarios. Some APs purport to passively determine optimal RF settings but I’ve never had much success with the ones I’ve tried. Active auto-negotiation wouldn’t solve all congestion issues because savvy operators would override the settings and resort to brute force, but it would probably solve a lot of the issues with cable-guy and Best Buy porcupine-of-antennas router/AP default installations. Seeing a dozen or so “MySpectrumWiFi…” SSIDs in the list of available WiFi networks in Settings on my iPad/iPhone tells the story.
    patchythepiratewatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 25
    Theoretical max speed != real world speed

    My current M1Max MBP is connected to a Wifi6 AP 5 feet away with nothing in between. Connection speed: 400Mbps 🙄
    williamlondonpatchythepiratewatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 25
    dewmedewme Posts: 4,183member
    Theoretical max speed != real world speed

    My current M1Max MBP is connected to a Wifi6 AP 5 feet away with nothing in between. Connection speed: 400Mbps ߙ䦬t;/div>
    This relationship between raw data rates and actual throughput has been true since the dawn of communication technology and protocols. If you consider only the information of interest to the connection endpoints, throw away all the protocol stuff, and consider other processing in the communication channel like marshaling, buffering, and interrupt processing, the useful throughput is even much less.

    That said, 400 Mbps almost sounds like your MBP is using 2.4 GHz radio channels instead of the 5 GHz radio channels. On my “ac” system I put my 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz radios on different SSIDs and assign specific devices to specific radios. Most of my IoT and home automation stuff only runs on 2.4 GHz and certain devices seem to struggle with the 5 GHz channels. If your MBP is allowed to pick which radio it connects to it may pick the 2.4 GHz one if its signal strength is much greater than the 5 GHz signals. Some APs allow you to tell the AP to prefer the 5 GHz over the 2.4 GHz when negotiating the connection with clients.

    I’m not advocating the two SSID approach, but it works for me. WiFi 6 may be different because it supports wider channel bandwidths on both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. If you don’t have a lot of 2.4 GHz-only devices at longer distances from the AP they use you can also try to turn down the power on the 2.4 GHz channel on the AP next to your MBP.

    Added: Another oddity that I’ve seen especially with iPhones is that you cannot assume that they are connecting to the closest AP, even one that is only a few feet away. They tend to hang on to the AP that they first connected to even when a better one is available. It’s odd that you’re seeing a connection speed (400 Mbps) that is typically seen with “ac” systems (2x2 mimo 40 MHz channel width) when you’re using WiFi 6 on both ends. 
    edited January 24 patchythepirate
  • Reply 18 of 25
    Go to Speetest on this and tell me your WiFi speed. Pick the best server. Also run LAN SSD disk read/write test for file that is about 1 GB in size. Then tell me what real speed you see. WiFi is advertised as peak speed. You will not get gigabit contiguous just like I do with fiber optics high speed Internet (yes 1Gbit both ways at any time and on any size of file and CAT6 wiring around the house). No WiFi is even close.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 19 of 25
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,428administrator
    Go to Speetest on this and tell me your WiFi speed. Pick the best server. Also run LAN SSD disk read/write test for file that is about 1 GB in size. Then tell me what real speed you see. WiFi is advertised as peak speed. You will not get gigabit contiguous just like I do with fiber optics high speed Internet (yes 1Gbit both ways at any time and on any size of file and CAT6 wiring around the house). No WiFi is even close.
    So are hard drive and SSD speeds.
    williamlondonpatchythepiratefastasleepwatto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 25
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,614member
    sdw2001 said:
    The problem there is you need an industrial-grade IP to even remotely take advantage, unless you’re talking about local networking.  I currently pay about 50 bucks a month for 300 mbs (FiOS).  The highest speed I’ve seen for consumers is 2Gbs.  You can get higher speeds with business plans, but they require special equipment and installation.  
    I feel so totally ripped off. I pay Charter Spectrum $75/month for just 100Mb/s
    I have true gigabit fiber (both up/down!) for $65/mo even. Comcast drops by periodically and I’m like, “You have nothing to offer me”. 
    You’re lucky - the vast majority of the country has only one option for internet service. 
    watto_cobra
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