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Throw away your Ethernet cables* because MediaTek says Wi-Fi 7 will replace them

*Don't do this

MediaTek claims to have given the world's first live demo of Wi-Fi 7, and said that the upcoming wireless technology will be able to challenge wired Ethernet for high-bandwidth applications, once available.

The fabless Taiwanese chip firm said it is currently showcasing two Wi-Fi 7 demos to key customers and industry collaborators, in order to demonstrate the technology's super-fast speeds and low latency transmission.

Based on the IEEE 802.11be standard, the draft version of which was published last year, Wi-Fi 7 is expected to provide speeds several times faster than Wi-Fi 6 kit, offering connections of at least 30Gbps and possibly up to 40Gbps.

MediaTek boasts that this will make wireless connections a viable alternative to wired networks such as Ethernet even in applications that call for very high throughput, and predicts it will be used as the backbone of home, office and industrial networks.

"The rollout of Wi-Fi 7 will mark the first time that Wi-Fi can be a true wireline/Ethernet replacement for super high-bandwidth applications," said Alan Hsu, corporate vice president and general manager of MediaTek's Intelligent Connectivity business.

MediaTek claims that its Wi-Fi 7 Filogic technology will be able to achieve the maximum speed defined by IEEE 802.11be, and said that its demonstration shows off the multi-link operation (MLO) technology in operation.

MLO aggregates multiple channels on different frequency bands, allowing connections using 2.4GHz, 5GHz or 6GHz radios simultaneously. This is expected to deliver greater reliability, allowing data to flow seamlessly even if there is interference or congestion on some of the bands.

According to Cisco, another Wi-Fi 7 capability called Restricted Target Wake Time will enable an access point to reserve bandwidth for latency sensitive traffic, which together with MLO will provide network admins with the flexibility to optimise operations via a managed use of network resources.

Wi-Fi 7 will deliver faster speeds than Wi-Fi 6, even with the same number of antennas, according to MediaTek. This is because Wi-Fi 7 doubles the channel bandwidth to 320MHz and supports 4K QAM technology. Products with Wi-Fi 7 are expected to start appearing on the market in 2023.

Meanwhile, organisations have already been investing heavily in Wi-Fi 6, as The Register reported last year, as enterprises made Wi-Fi upgrades a priority in preparation for an expected return to the workplace by remote working employees. ®

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