Upgrading to a new version of Wi-Fi sounds great, but how much faster will it be? actually the transfer speeds of the standard Wi-Fi 7 ? Let’s compare the current standards to Wi-Fi 7 (also called 802.11be) and learn how your actual speed may vary.

Note: As of this writing in April 2022, Wi-Fi 7 specs remain only at draft form and await final approval from the FCC. Even though some manufacturers have already promised to ship Wi-Fi 7-enabled products, the standard is subject to change before approval occurs.

Compared to Wi-Fi 5 (what you’re probably using)

If your router is reasonably new, it probably supports Wi-Fi 5, known technically as 802.11ac . Assuming your device is also Wi-Fi 5 enabled, you can expect to get a maximum transfer speed of 3.5 gigabits per second (Gbps).

However, that is the theoretical top speed for optimal conditions only. You probably won’t reach that speed. It is influenced and reduced by factors such as your internet plan, the location and surroundings of your Wi-Fi router, the location of your device and interference from nearby networks.

Wi-Fi 7 under optimal conditions exceeds 5 with a maximum speed of 30 Gbps, an increase of more than 750%. Not only that, but it’s also capable of using bands that Wi-Fi 5 can’t access. That wider spectrum gives your router more room to roam, so to speak. Nearby networks will not have to compete as fiercely for the same channels, allowing reduce interference .

Of course, you’re unlikely to jump straight from Wi-Fi 5 to 7 unless you seriously put off upgrading your gear. Will probably switch to using Wi-Fi 6 or 6E sooner that a Wi-Fi 7 enabled device reach your hands.

Wi-Fi 7 vs. Wi-Fi 6 and 6E

If you’re on the cutting edge of wireless technology, you’re probably using WiFi 6 or less commonly, WiFi 6E . If you were to upgrade to the preliminary Wi-Fi 7 specs right now, the improvement in speed capabilities wouldn’t be as dramatic as switching from Wi-Fi 5, but it would still be impressive. Wi-Fi 6 and 6E, under optimal conditions, can reach speeds of up to 9.6 Gbps, only a third of the capacity of 7.

Wi-Fi 6E already has access to the 6GHz band that will have Wi-Fi 7, avoiding the congestion problems of the 2.5 GHz and 5 GHz bands . However, what 6E doesn’t have is something called Multi Link Operation (MLO), which further enhances Wi-Fi 7’s ability to avoid interference. That means 7 will handle the same channels as 6E, but more effectively. Other advantages over 6 and 6E include higher quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM) and bandwidth channel wider .

Wi-Fi 7 vs. Ethernet connection

Right now, a wired internet connection it’s almost always faster and more reliable than your home Wi-Fi connection. However, some have speculated that a Wi-Fi 7 connection will be best than a wired connection. This is potentially true only if you are talking about Ethernet cables rated below Cat-8 which is a Ethernet cable category which can be rated for speeds up to 40 Gbps. That said, Cat-8 is designed for data centers, not your home network. Most likely, the cable that came with your router is a Cat-5 or Cat-6 cable, with a capacity of no more than 10 Gbps.

As always, these comparisons are only valid if your network is configured in optimal conditions, which is difficult to achieve. While Wi-Fi 7 will bring improvements in the battle against interference and latency, exactly how well it will perform remains to be seen. And, of course, the Ethernet cables themselves are subject to slowdowns and issues .

Promised speeds vs. real

So, soon you’ll be surfing the web at 30Gbps speed? Probably not. In addition to the other factors we mentioned above, your home internet plan probably doesn’t even come close to providing that kind of speed. If you’re paying for two-gigabit internet, the most premium plan likely available to you as a residential customer, that means your speed will top out at 2 Gbps, no matter your equipment. Remember that Wi-Fi 5 already offers maximum speeds of 3.5 Gbps.

So does that mean there’s no point in upgrading to a newer standard? Absolutely not. New wireless standards introduce new ways to help you get the speeds you are paying for better serve a home with multiple users and obtain greater energy efficiency. Therefore, the next time buy a router point to one with the latest standard.

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