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MediaTek to demo Wi-Fi 7 at CES, touts 2.4x speed boost over Wi-Fi 6

Mediatek Wi-Fi 7 announcement
Mediatek Wi-Fi 7 announcement (Image credit: Michael Hicks / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • MediaTek says it is "one of the first adopters of Wi-Fi 7 technology" and will show the standard in action at CES 2022.
  • We could see official Wi-Fi 7 standards in mid-2022.
  • Wi-Fi 7 reportedly will be 2.4 times faster than Wi-Fi 6 and 6E.

While we've only just begun to see an influx of Wi-Fi 6E routers in 2021, chip and modem companies are already hard at work on the next big thing. During MediaTek's annual developer summit, the company announced it would demo a Wi-Fi 7 network at CES 2022.

James Chen, MediaTek's Associate VP of Product Marketing, explained that Wi-Fi 7 would be 2.4 times faster than Wi-Fi 6 or Wi-Fi 6E — both of which are already incredibly fast by today's standards.

But speed increases are only one of the future benefits of Wi-Fi 7. Chen also explained (without any concrete details) that this new standard will significantly reduce latency, which will help significantly for applications like gaming where every millisecond counts. And intriguingly, he said that Wi-Fi 7 would "play nice" with your neighbor's Wi-Fi 7 networks, using new technology to reduce interference from signals outside of your home.

Though MediaTek is demoing the tech at CES 2022 in January, Chen specified that the Wi-Fi Alliance is still "very early in the Wi-Fi 7 standardization process" and that he couldn't disclose the specific date that Wi-Fi 7 standards will be finalized. But he did suggest that, while the standard is "still in evolution," we could see a "Q2 2022 release" of the Wi-Fi 7 standards. We'd expect a 2023 rollout of the technology on that timetable.

The question will be which devices support Wi-Fi 7. One of the biggest downsides to buying a Wi-Fi 6E router in 2021 is that not too many devices support 6GHz networks. New devices are more likely to support it, but will companies also future-proof to Wi-Fi 7 support, or is that too forward-thinking?

Michael spent years freelancing on every tech topic under the sun before settling down on the real exciting stuff: virtual reality, fitness wearables, gaming, and how tech intersects with our world. He's a semi-reformed Apple-to-Android user who loves running, D&D, and Star Wars. Find him on Twitter at @Michael_L_Hicks.