Qualcomm expects its first Wi-Fi 7 products to ship later this year
“While others are still in the lab trying to figure things out, Qualcomm is announcing and delivering a commercial solution that people can take advantage of immediately.”
Dino Bekis, VP for Qualcomm’s Mobile Compute and Connectivity division
Wi-Fi 7 may be here a lot sooner than we originally thought. Qualcomm says it expects to have the first Wi-Fi 7 product, its FastConnect 7800 chips, available in commercial products in the second half of 2022.
Many of us are still trying to catch up to the current Wi-Fi 6E standard, but companies are already racing to implement the next-gen Wi-Fi 7. While Wi-Fi 6E opened up the 6GHz band for consumer use, Wi-Fi 7 will be a significant speed upgrade to at least 30 Gbps and features “multi-link operation” that uses all three of the 2.4GHz, 5GHz, and 6GHz bands dynamically. That means your Wi-Fi connection will automatically aggregate all three bands so you get a faster connection. And you won’t get fragged in fast-paced competitive shooters because of random connection drops.
It was only a month ago that we saw the first live demo for Wi-Fi 7 conducted by MediaTek. Despite the live demo, the company said that its first products with Wi-Fi 7 won’t be available until 2023. But Qualcomm is trying to get ahead of the competition — hence the announcement of its FastConnect 7800 chips that are expected to be the first Wi-Fi 7 solutions to ship in commercial products.
“While others are still in the lab trying to figure things out, Qualcomm is announcing and delivering a commercial solution that people can take advantage of immediately,” Dino Bekis, vice president and general manager for Qualcomm’s Mobile Compute and Connectivity division, told Input.
Next-gen Wi-Fi capabilities — Qualcomm said the FastConnect 7800 series will offer the world’s fastest and lowest-latency Wi-Fi connections and can be applied to everything from laptops and tablets to smartphones and AR/VR headsets.
According to Qualcomm, its upcoming FastConnect 7800s will be 60 percent faster than its previous generation, reaching a peak speed of 5.8 Gbps. The new chips will also have less than a 2ms sustained latency, which is a 50 percent improvement from the previous generation. With these two benchmarks, Qualcomm’s FastConnect 7800s would offer the world’s fastest and lowest-latency Wi-Fi capabilities.
Eclipsing Ethernet — Bekis told Input that the latency with the FastConnect 7800s would pretty much match an Ethernet connection, so you can pick either one and get the same quality connection. With Ethernet wires potentially becoming obsolete due to Wi-Fi 7, we could even see a new era of wireless device design.
Bekis said that the new Wi-Fi chips could be applied to many uses, like better video conferencing, instantaneous file-sharing, wireless displays, or more untethered VR headsets (next-gen Meta Quest 2?). He added that they could even potentially power ultralight devices that forgo processing power and instead run primarily off the cloud.
Qualcomm’s FastConnect 7800s also improves on wireless audio by using dual Bluetooth streams to provide better range, faster pairing, and lower power consumption. On top of that, Qualcomm said their new chips are 30 to 50 percent better at power efficiency, meaning longer battery life for the devices they’re built into.
Three-way race — Bekis told Input that Qualcomm is currently sampling its FastConnect 7800s in three main application areas: computing platforms, AR/VR platforms, and smartphone platforms. When asked which product we can expect to see the first FastConnect 7800s in, Bekis said it’s a pretty tight race between products in all three of those application areas. Qualcomm is expecting to see commercial availability of its chips in the second half of 2022.