WiFi 7 FAQ – Consumer Reports


The main improvements of WiFi 7 are faster speeds and better responsiveness. And considering the performance of WiFi 6 routers in our router rankings (available to members), that probably means good things.

The Wi-Fi Alliance tells us that WiFi 7 will support a maximum throughput of at least 30 gigabits per second, more than three times faster than WiFi 6’s 9.6 Gbps maximum.

Some napkin math: a 4K Blu-ray disc clocks in at 50 gigabytes, which would take around 42 seconds to download using WiFi 6. With WiFi 7 that would drop to around 13 seconds. So whenever you’re dealing with a large download – my copy of Madden NFL 23 started downloading 50GB of updates the moment I inserted it into my PS5, for example – the speed advantages of the WiFi 7 should be clear.

We’re unlikely to see speeds that fast in the real world, for all sorts of reasons, including wireless interference, but that doesn’t mean the upgrade won’t be noticeable.

Latency might also be less of a headache. This is especially important for time-sensitive applications like games (including virtual reality and augmented reality applications) and interaction with smart devices. The last thing you want is to miss a delicious hanger in MLB The Show because Juan Soto’s timing is off on your PS5, or your party guests are getting frustrated with mood-destroying delays in the music of your smart speaker.

WiFi 7 can also be much smarter than previous generations of WiFi, thanks to a feature called multilink operation. This, Cordeiro says, will allow wireless devices to send and receive data on three bands (2.4 gigahertz, 5 GHz or 6 GHz), moving at all times depending on traffic and speed.

Why is this important?

Say you live in a crowded apartment building and your neighbors flood the airwaves with wireless traffic: smart TVs streaming Netflix 4K, HomePods streaming Apple Music 1 radio, and content creators uploading videos to YouTube or streaming live on Twitch 24/7. 24. (Heck, it looks like a very competitive Mario Kart 8 tournament happening right next door.)

Now let’s say you have an important Zoom call for work and it’s about to start.

With WiFi 7, your wireless router will be able to determine which of the three bands is the least congested and direct your Zoom call to it, ensuring you get on with your business without delay.

As you may remember, WiFi 6E pioneered the push into the 6 GHz band, a band of wireless spectrum that was banned from WiFi before 2020. WiFi 7 will not only provide access to this band, but will also do so with twice the bandwidth, expanding each channel from 160 megahertz to 320 MHz. Think of it, essentially, as doubling the number of lanes on a freeway.

As with previous generations, WiFi 7 can also be identified by a more technical term – 802.11be – which you may occasionally see on product labeling and, yes, Consumer Reports wireless router ratings.

It will also be backwards compatible with previous generation WiFi devices. This means you’ll be able to connect your 4-year-old iPhone, your used Fire tablet, and virtually any other wireless device in your home to a WiFi 7 router. Devices won’t suddenly run faster, enjoying all the benefits of the new standard. , but at least you won’t have to mothball them just because you want to buy a new router.


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