While most households are still using Wi-Fi 5 routers, Qualcomm is already developing the world’s first Wi-Fi 7 chipset. It’s an odd move that will bring Wi-Fi 7 support to high-end smartphones in 2023, long before Wi-Fi 7 routers become commonplace or affordable. Still, you could seriously benefit from Qualcomm’s hasty move.
Wait, What’s Wi-Fi 7?
The world of Wi-Fi is pretty confusing, to say the least. But here’s the gist of it—most homes use Wi-Fi 5 routers, which have a maximum wireless speed of 3.5GBps. Well, that’s just a theoretical speed. Due to Wi-Fi 5’s relatively short range and limited selection of wireless “channels,” its real-world performance often falls short of those theoretical measurements.
Many people and ISPs are now using Wi-Fi 6 routers to address these limitations. Not only does Wi-Fi 6 support a maximum wireless speed of 9.6GBps, but it’s better equipped to handle a ton of connected devices. The Wi-Fi 6E standard takes things a bit further, utilizing the 6GHz radio spectrum to reduce network congestion and further improve the quality of wireless internet in your home.
While Wi-Fi 7 isn’t finalized, it should support wireless speeds of at least 30GBps. That’s about ten times faster than any Wi-Fi 5 router. Plus, Wi-Fi 7 offers an incredibly stable connection thanks to new latency-busting technologies.
We expect the first Wi-Fi 7 routers to launch in 2023, and yeah, they’ll be super expensive. Your ISP probably won’t offer Wi-Fi 7 routers to customers until 2025, and even then, it’ll take a few more years for the technology to become commonplace.
Qualcomm Is Already Building Wi-Fi 7 Chips
Unless manufacturers fast-track Wi-Fi 7 technology, most people won’t experience the new wireless standard until 2025 or later. Still, Qualcomm took to MWC 2022 to announce its FastConnect 7800 chip. This wireless modem supports industry-leading Bluetooth, low-latency networking, and of course, Wi-Fi 7.
Qualcomm claims that FastConnect 7800 is the “first Wi-Fi 7 solution,” which is technically true, as competitions like MediaTek have only developed experimental Wi-Fi 7 hardware. Either way, it will probably appear in the flagship phones of 2023. If it comes out in the first half of the year, it may even ship with the Samsung Galaxy S24. (Speaking of, the Galaxy S21 and S22 both support Wi-Fi 6E.)
Now, the inclusion of Wi-Fi 7 in a 2023 smartphone might seem a bit unnecessary. It’s one of those enthusiast things that doesn’t matter to the average person, right? Well, kind of.
You Will Benefit from Wi-Fi 7’s Early Adoption
Customers who buy the first-ever Wi-Fi 7 smartphones won’t see any immediate benefits from the feature. In fact, most people will never know the difference. But that’s okay, because the early adoption of Wi-Fi 7 in smartphones will benefit you in the future.
Only high-end phones will use the FastConnect 7800 chip in 2023, and many of these phones (namely those from Samsung and OnePlus) will come with three to five years of guaranteed updates. That means that people will still be using these phones once Wi-Fi 7 becomes affordable and commonplace.
When you finally buy a Wi-Fi 7 router (or your ISP forces you to use one) your smartphone will already support the standard. And that means faster and more reliable internet performance without upgrading your smartphone.
And guess what? You don’t need to wait for Wi-Fi 7 to see these kinds of benefits. That’s because phones that support Wi-Fi 7 also work with Wi-Fi 6 and 6E routers, which are already becoming quite affordable. If your ISP sends you a new router this year, for example, there’s a good chance that it packs Wi-Fi 6.