Microsoft catches the Wi-Fi 7 wave with Windows 11

In with the new, but old Insider bugs remain

More than a month after the Wi-Fi alliance introduced certification for Wi-Fi 7 devices, Microsoft has added support for the technology to Windows 11.

This is in build 26063 in the Canary and Dev Channel of the Windows Insider program. However, it will likely make its way into the hands of the broader public before long since hardware capable of supporting the new standard has been around for a while. Microsoft's hardware partners are doubtless itching to slap some updated Wi-Fi branding on their new gizmos.

Microsoft described Wi-Fi 7, also known as IEEE 802.11be Extremely High Throughput (EHT), as a "revolutionary technology that offers unprecedented speed, reliability, and efficiency for your wireless devices."

The Wi-Fi Alliance introduced Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 7 on January 8, and estimated that 233 million devices were poised to enter the market this year, growing to 2.1 billion devices by 2028. As well as smartphones, the Wi-Fi Alliance said that tablets, PCs, and access points (AP) were expected to be the earliest adopters of the technology, hence it turning up in Windows 11.

Companies like Intel, Broadcom, MediaTek, and Qualcomm have lined up behind the technology. Eric A McLaughlin, VP and GM of Intel's Wireless Solutions Group, said: "Intel-powered PCs and IOT products with Wi-Fi 7 will enable multi-gigabit speeds with wired-like responsiveness and new extreme levels of connection reliability."

However, those Intel-powered PCs will require Wi-Fi 7 support from Windows 11. Customers will need hardware that supports the speedy standard and a Wi-Fi 7-capable consumer access point.

"With Wi-Fi 7," says Microsoft, "you can enjoy multi-gigabit speeds on your Windows PC and experience up to 4x faster speeds than Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E, and close to 6x faster than Wi-Fi 5." Applications that struggle with latency, such as gaming or video conferencing, will also benefit. However, Microsoft cautioned that "performance may vary by manufacturer and hardware device capabilities."

Aside from the arrival of Wi-Fi 7, the build contained the usual raft of fixes, including a change to reduce the number of rollbacks – with error code 0xC1900101 – when installing the latest build.

However, the Dev Drive issue remains. Users who have Dev Drive and might need to roll back must back up their Dev Drives before rolling back or face data loss. This is, after all, an Insider build. ®

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