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Happy 2024! A Major Year for Wi-Fi 7 and Getting Things Connected In a Big Way

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Suppose you ask the tech world post-CES what the year 2024 is going to be big on. The answer is likely artificial intelligence, electric cars, solar power, seethrough TV screens, and, of course, (killer) robots (which are basically machines with AI.)

And that’s understandable. Those are fancy items. They are intriguing, revolutionary, cool, or scary.

But if you ask yours truly, my answer would be Wi-Fi 7. Believe it or not, technology is about data, specifically, the collection, storage, and exchange of data, and Wi-Fi, the popular way of getting things connected, plays a significant role.

The 7th Gen Wi-Fi, as a pleasant surprise, happened to become official one day before CES 2024 started, January 8, 2024.

The Asus RT BE96U in action
The Asus RT-BE96U is one of many Wi-Fi 7 routers showcased at CES 2024.

2024: When Wi-F 7 becomes the norm

Like all previous Wi-Fi standards, Wi-Fi 7 hardware was available well before the standard itself was ratified. The first Wi-Fi 7 broadcaster (the TP-Link Deco BE85) and client (the One Plus 11 5G phone) were available in May 2023.

However, an actual Wi-Fi 7 experience, in terms of connection speed, needed to wait until computer-based clients and their software drivers became available, which happened just recently with the Intel BE200 adapter.

I’ve used a couple of these chips as upgrade parts inside Intel-based computers intensively in the past month and can attest to the fact that Wi-Fi 7 is a standard that can consistently deliver sustained wireless data rates over 2Gbps.

For the first time, we have a convenient local wireless standard that can handle multi-Gigabit with ease, paving the road to commoditizing super-fast broadband with up to 10Gbps of download speed.

Here's the Intel BE200's status page when connected to the Asus RT BE96U
A connection status page of an Intel BE200 connected to the Asus RT-BE96U Wi-Fi 7 router. Note the negotiated Link speed. The BE200 is a 2×2 Wi-Fi 7 adapter. The connection rate could double if it had the 4×4 specs of the router.

For now, the Intel BE200 requires a bit of work to install on an existing computer. It’s also compatible only with a computer that runs on an Intel processor.

The year 2024 will change all that.

Soon, you’ll be able to get a computer with built-in Wi-Fi 7 or upgrade any existing one to the new standard with ease and find Wi-Fi 7 routers and mesh systems that won’t break the bank.

New clients and affordable hardware are on the horizon

Generally, networking vendors tend to enter a new Wi-Fi standard with expensive flagship products, such as those from TP-Link and Netgear. The Archer BE800 or Nighthawk RS700S, for example, cost $600 and $700 each, respectively. And the Orbi 970 Series goes for a cool $2300 for a 3-pack.

As 2024 arrives, it’s clear that the cost of Wi-Fi 7 hardware will go down significantly. All vendors introduced lower hardware tiers to fit the needs and budgets of most consumers.

Asus ZenWiFi BQ16 Pro and BQ16Asus ZenWiFi BQ16 Pro and BQ16 Port
The front and back of the Asus ZenWiFi BQ16 Pro

Asus has a new ZenWiFi Wi-Fi 7 lineup and flagship routers

Asus, a major networking vendor, announced at CES 2024 its latest Wi-Fi 7 hardware, including the availability of the flagship $800 GT-BE98 Pro and the standard $600 RT-BE96U. You can get both today.

Additionally, the company introduced the all-new ZenWiFi BQ series, represented by the BQ16 Pro. Slated to be available in the second quarter of the year and costs around $1000 for a 2-pack, the BQ16 has everything to satisfy the bandwidth needs of a large home, from top-tier Wi-Fi 7 specs to 10Gbps Multi-Gigabit ports to lots of advanced and free-for-life options.

Asus says it will also release lower-tier and more affordable Wi-Fi hardware as the year progresses, as early as the end of the first quarter.

MSI unveiled a low-cost Roamii mesh system and a gaming router that moves

Speaking of low-cost hardware, Micro-Start Internation debuted its all-new Wi-Fi 7 Roamii purpose-built home mesh lineup. So far, this product line is slated to be the most affordable to date compared to anything you’ve seen.

Specifically, the new mesh family includes three tiers as the following:

  • Roamii BE Max: This is a top-tier system with up to 21Gbps of bandwidth. It comes with 10Gbps ports for wired backhauling and clients. Estimated cost: $499 for a 2-pack. (That’s less than one-third the cost of a 2-pack Netgear Orbi RBE972.)
  • Roamii BE Pro: A mid-tier system with up to 11Gbps of total bandwidth. It comes with 2.5Gbps for wired backhauling and clients. Estimated cost: $399 for a 2-pack.
  • Roamii BE Lite  This is an entry-level mesh system with up to 5Gbps of total bandwidth and includes Gigabit ports for wired backhauling and clients. Estimated cost: $299 for a pack.

Per MSI, these systems will be available during the first quarter of the year. At these prices, they will make upgrading to Wi-Fi 7 an easy path.

Other than the Roamii, MSI also unveiled a new gaming router, the RadiX BE22000 Turbo.

This new Wi-Fi machine is part of the family that already included MSI’s first two routers in decades, the RadiX AXE6600 and RadiX AX6600. It’s a bit over the top.

Indeed, the RadiX BE22000 Turbo is no ordinary Wi-Fi router. It has “auto-detecting antennas that change antenna patterns to follow your device location, enhancing signal coverage.”

MSI Wi Fi 7 Router RadiX BE22000
The MSI RadiX BE22000 Wi-Fi 7 router has four large antennas that can swivel around.

Specifically, the antennas move around on top of the router. Among other things, they make a great conversation starter. It’s unclear when this new router will cost and when (or if) it’ll be available.

TP-Link with Power-over-ethernet, outdoor, 5G, hardware, and plug-and-play adapters

Among vendors offering Wi-Fi 7 hardware, TP-Link has been the earliest with the most products so far. And in 2024, you can expect even more from the Chinese vendor.

The company unveiled a long list of new Wi-Fi broadcasters at CES 2024, including its first real gaming router, the Archer GE800, and a few mid-tier Deco75, BE65, and BE25 mesh systems. As the numbers suggest, these are one or a few steps lower than the BE85 that came out last year. They will carry much lower prices compared to the top-tier hardware.

The newly-announced hardware includes options for outdoor, built-in 5G modem, and PoE configurations. You can use a mix of them to build a mesh system that fits the needs of any large home.

Most significantly, TP-Link also introduced two à-la-carte Wi-Fi 7 adapters. One is PCIe-based for desktop computers, and the other uses the popular USB connection.

These adapters, slated to cost around $80 each, work with any computer that runs Windows 11, regardless of their processor, and come included with the software driver via USB storage.

TP Link Archer TBE400U USB Wi Fi 7 adapter
The TP-Link Archer TBE400U USB Wi-Fi 7 adapter comes with a base for easy placement.

It’s safe to say these new products from TP-Link, set to be available in the second quarter of the year, will make Wi-Fi 7 accessible to the vast majority of users.

The takeaway

So, yes, likely unbeknownst to most, Wi-Fi 7 is going to be the biggest tech thing in 2024. Since its debut over two decades ago, Wi-Fi has become one of the most important, yet hugely underrated, aspects of daily tech. This latest generation is no exception.

The new stand will play significant roles in the proliferation of other cool technologies, including AI and smart devices. After all, those moving robots need to be connected to something and one another before they can perform any task effectively, including that purportedly ultimate job of eliminating all humans.

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8 thoughts on “Happy 2024! A Major Year for Wi-Fi 7 and Getting Things Connected In a Big Way”

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  1. 2 things:

    – It’s written “à-la-carte”, not “a-la-cart”.

    – Xiaomi has/will launch the “BE 3600”. It seems it will be quite inexpensive compared to other similar product.

    Do you have an opinion on this product ?{…}

    Reply
    • Xiaomi hardware is generally not allowed in the US market, Felix.

      It’s always tricky spelling non-English. My name is an example. Thanks for correction, tho. Next time, you can just highlight the typo and report it that way, via the red box that jumps out.

      Reply
      • Thanks for pointing out the “red box” feature. I didn’t knew it existed.

        It’s normal to make mistakes/typos, especially when words are borrowed from another language.

        Me pointing this mistake is in no way a way to criticize you.

        I myself am not a native english speaker/writer (french).

        Thanks also for the Xiaomi information.
        It might not be coming to the USA (so you cannot get one and do a proper review) but not all your readers are located in the USA (myself; in Canada) so I might be able to get it.

        Reply
  2. God bless all people who help with the connection for all devices to work that is truly Good and amazing work to keep all devices with the connection God bless

    Reply
  3. Hi,

    I am using Asus XT9. If I want to introduce wifi7 to the network what is the best possibility?

    Thanks,
    Ketan

    Reply

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