Even though the WiFi 7 standard has yet to be formally approved, devices touting early support for the next-gen wireless technology are already hitting the market.
Intel has released its first WiFi 7 controller chips and networking cards that will make their way into various products later this year. The new BE200 and BE202 cards offer speeds up to 5Gbps, falling just shy of the claimed 5.8Gbps peak rate.
While not quite reaching the theoretical maximum throughput of 46Gbps for WiFi 7, Intel’s initial offerings provide a significant boost over existing WiFi 6E hardware. The prior generation AX210 and AX411 cards top out at 2.4Gbps and 3Gbps respectively.
The BE200 and BE202 deliver improvements through support for 2×2 streams in the 2.4GHz, 5GHz, and new 6GHz bands. They come in PCIe and USB-A formats for integration into desktops, laptops, and more.
Motherboard manufacturers like Aorus are already incorporating the BE200 in upcoming products. This allows consumers to benefit from higher speeds enabled by WiFi 7 before the technology is even finalized.
Of course, users will also need compatible WiFi 7 routers and access points to take full advantage of the faster throughput. Most current consumer routers do not yet support the 6GHz band that is integral to Wi-Fi 7.
But the early arrival of controllers and adapters indicates the ecosystem is rapidly coalescing ahead of official WiFi 7 certification in 2024. For consumers eager to future-proof their connectivity, compatible devices should begin reaching the market by the end of 2023.