Chinese networking equipment vendor H3C has released what it says is the first Wi-Fi 7 router on the market, well in advance of the standard becoming final, which isn't expected to happen before 2024.
The H3C Magic BE18000, announced in June, uses the same 802.11be wireless protocols that are being designed for use as Wi-Fi 7.
H3C said that the BE18000 can operate in the 6GHz band and offers a peak throughput of 18,443Mbps, using the newly widened 320MHz channels designed for use with Wi-Fi 7. The router is designed around the latest chipset from Qualcomm, the first designed for Wi-Fi 7, which was released in May.
Pre-standard wireless equipment is far from a new phenomenon access points using not-yet-released wireless standards have predated each of the official releases for several refresh cycles now. While endpoint manufacturers tend to be a bit more conservative, AP and router manufacturers are less circumspect.
The release of H3C's router represents an indication that that company, at least, feels the major technical features of Wi-Fi 7 are sufficiently settled to release a product, despite the fact that no major endpoint vendor includes Wi-Fi 7 capability in its smartphones or laptops as of yet.
The BE18000 release tallies closely with predictions made by Qualcomm senior director of engineering Andy Davidson, who told Network World in March that pre-standard gear could begin to appear this year, driven by an increased willingness by end-users to adopt new Wi-Fi technology as soon as it becomes available for sale.
Multilink operation is key Wi-Fi 7 feature
The headlining technical feature in Wi-Fi 7 is multilink operation, which is, in essence, the ability for an access point to listen and talk at the same time. There are two variants of multilink: alternating, in which devices use one channel to receive data and another to send it; and simultaneous, in which both devices are sending and receiving on multiple channels at the same time.
The idea is to provide options for greater throughput and to address potential latency issues. Simultaneous multilink, in particular, holds great potential for avoiding the types of interference that can cause noticeable latency issues, allowing connections to change frequencies on the fly in order to cope with a loss of signal in a particular band.