Qualcomm is perhaps best known as the company behind the Snapdragon chips in many Android phones and tablets. The company revealed today that it’s building hardware for use in Wi-Fi 7 mesh routers, promising speeds of “over 20 Gbps.”
Qualcomm today announced a new lineup of hardware for use in future mesh routers, dubbed the “Immersive Home Wi-Fi 7 Platform.” As the name implies, it’s built around the emerging Wi-Fi 7 standard, which promises faster speeds and lower latency than Wi-Fi 6E (which still isn’t common) and Wi-Fi 6. For devices that support Wi-Fi 7, the platform will deliver better performance on the 5 GHz channel, and 140% more bandwidth on 6 GHz compared to Wi-Fi 6E.
Qualcomm is promising “tri-band Wi-Fi 7 configurations ranging from 10 to 20 Gbps peak wireless capacity,” which would be wild speeds for home networks — easily more than most residential internet service providers. However, as with most router speed estimates, real-world performance will be affected by walls, wireless interference, and other factors.
Importantly, Qualcomm itself won’t be selling routers with the new hardware platform. Instead, it’s up to other companies to build routers and mesh systems based on Qualcomm’s designs — the Immersive Home 316 Platform, 318 Platform, 326 Platform, and 3210 Platform. Qualcomm is currently sampling the hardware to “manufacturers of home routers and mesh Wi-Fi systems,” but didn’t say which ones.
The first certified Wi-Fi 7 hardware is generally expected to arrive in 2024, but some companies are rushing to release mesh products next year before the standard is finalized. Devices that support Wi-Fi 6E are still uncommon — for example, the new iPad Pro is Apple’s only product with Wi-Fi 6E right now, and only a handful of Samsung Galaxy phones and tablets are compatible. Even if you buy a Wi-Fi 7 router next year, it’s probably going to take a while until you see significant benefits.