WiFi Networks (4G)
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Exploring the Leap from 2.4 and 5 GHz to Wi-Fi 7

Dive into the transformative features of Wi-Fi 7 and how it surpasses previous generations in speed, efficiency, and connectivity.

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As the digital landscape expands and the demands on wireless networks increase, Wi-Fi technology continues to evolve to meet these needs. The upcoming Wi-Fi 7, officially known as IEEE 802.11be Extremely High Throughput, represents a significant leap over its predecessors. In this article, we will explore the differences between Wi-Fi 7 and its predecessors, Wi-Fi 6, Wi-Fi 5, and the 2.4 GHz band, highlighting the pros and cons of each.

Wi-Fi 7 vs. Wi-Fi 6

a photo of a happy gamer with no lag time.A gamer who solved his lag issues. iStock

Wi-Fi 6, introduced as IEEE 802.11ax, was designed to improve network efficiency and handle more devices simultaneously. It operates in both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands, introducing technologies like OFDMA (Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiple Access) and MU-MIMO (Multi-User, Multiple Input, Multiple Output) to enhance bandwidth allocation and reduce latency.

Wi-Fi 7 builds upon the foundation laid by Wi-Fi 6, further pushing the boundaries of speed and efficiency. It operates across three frequency bands—2.4 GHz, 5 GHz, and 6 GHz—and introduces 320 MHz channels, 4096-QAM, Multi-RU, and Multi-Link Operation (MLO), aiming to provide significantly faster speeds and more reliable connections.

Pros of Wi-Fi 7 over Wi-Fi 6:

  • Increased Speed and Throughput: Wi-Fi 7 is projected to offer speeds up to 46 Gbps, which is about 4.8 times faster than Wi-Fi 6.
  • Lower Latency: Enhanced technologies significantly reduce latency, improving the performance of real-time applications such as gaming and VR.
  • Greater Capacity: Wi-Fi 7 can efficiently handle more devices thanks to the introduction of 320 MHz channels and enhanced MU-MIMO.

Cons of Wi-Fi 7 over Wi-Fi 6:

  • Higher Cost: New technologies in Wi-Fi 7 devices are likely to carry a premium, at least initially.
  • Compatibility Issues: While backward compatible, optimal performance requires devices that support Wi-Fi 7 technologies.

Wi-Fi 7 vs. Wi-Fi 5

oung woman wearing VR headset stock photoWi-Fi 7 provides exponentially higher speeds and efficiency to provide better VR experiences.iStock

Wi-Fi 5, or IEEE 802.11ac, was a major improvement over its predecessors, focusing primarily on the 5 GHz band to increase speed. It introduced wider channels and more spatial streams with advancements in MU-MIMO technology.

Wi-Fi 7, as previously mentioned, not only supports all three bands but also introduces much wider channels and quadruples the modulation technique used in Wi-Fi 5, resulting in exponentially higher speeds and efficiency.

Pros of Wi-Fi 7 over Wi-Fi 5:

  • Dramatic Speed Increase: With speeds up to 13 times faster than Wi-Fi 5, Wi-Fi 7 is well-suited for bandwidth-intensive applications.
  • Enhanced Multi-Device Support: Efficiently managing more devices is a significant advantage over Wi-Fi 5.
  • Advanced Features: Technologies like Multi-Link Operation allow for simultaneous transmission across multiple bands, boosting performance and reliability.

Cons of Wi-Fi 7 over Wi-Fi 5:

  • Upgrading Devices: To fully benefit from Wi-Fi 7, consumers may need to upgrade their routers and other devices.
  • Initial Costs: Adopting newer technology often comes with higher initial costs for hardware and integration.

2.4 GHz Band vs. Wi-Fi 7

a photo of old routers stackedWi-Fi 7 is backwards compatible with devices that work on 2.4, 5, and 6 GHz connections.iStock

The 2.4 GHz band is one of the oldest Wi-Fi frequencies used. It is known for good coverage and better penetration through walls, but it is notorious for its congestion and lower data transmission speeds.

Wi-Fi 7 uses this band, along with the 5 GHz and 6 GHz bands, to optimize performance based on the environment. The introduction of newer technologies helps mitigate many of the drawbacks traditionally associated with the 2.4 GHz band.

Pros of Wi-Fi 7 over the 2.4 GHz band:

  • Versatility and Performance: Wi-Fi 7 routers utilize all three bands and can switch between them depending on network demands, offering optimal performance.
  • Reduced Congestion: Advanced technologies in Wi-Fi 7 help manage the congestion typically seen in the 2.4 GHz band, especially in crowded areas.

Cons of Wi-Fi 7 over the 2.4 GHz band:

  • Complexity: The advanced features of Wi-Fi 7 may require more sophisticated network management.
  • Cost: Again, upgrading to devices that fully exploit Wi-Fi 7's capabilities can be significant.


In conclusion, Wi-Fi 7 represents a monumental advancement in wireless technology, addressing the needs of increasingly connected homes and businesses. While it builds on the improvements made by Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 5, it also brings its own set of challenges, primarily related to cost and device compatibility. Nonetheless, for those requiring the highest levels of performance, reliability, and capacity, Wi-Fi 7 will soon be the standard to beat.

If you need help finding a good Wi-Fi router, feel free to use GearBrain's compatibility find engine. It can help you find, buy, and connect any smart device. It can even help you find other smart devices or systems that are compatible with your existing smart devices, such as Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa-enabled devices.

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