Realtek Demos WiFi 7 at Computex 2023

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2023/06/01 00:19:39 (permalink)
Considering all the buzz around WiFi 7, there weren't many live demos at Computex, but Realtek had a demo running in its suite at the show. Realtek will offer both client and router/AP solutions, with their client product which goes under the RTL8922AE model name, coming in M.2 2230 and 1620 formats, where the latter is a solder down module. To simulate a real world scenario, Realtek was running a second radio to cause some additional interference, but the RTL8922AE test setup was still capable of delivering between 1,750 and 1,950 Mbps, which is almost twice as fast as WiFi 6, using a similar 2x2 antenna setup. This was obviously over a fairly short distance, so the question is how well WiFi 7 will work over longer distances.

The RTL8922AE has a claimed maximum sync speed of 2800 Mbps when connected to the 5 GHz and 6 GHz bands simultaneously and combining the bandwidth of both bands. However, it is limited to a 160 MHz channel bandwidth, whereas WiFi 7 can go up to a 320 MHz wide channel, but it's unclear if competing first gen clients will support this. The RTL8922AE also incorporates support for Bluetooth 5.4 and is as far as we're aware one of the first WiFi chips to support the upcoming standard that mostly focuses on improving BLE Audio and Auracast support. The RTL8922AE should launch sometime in the fourth quarter this year to Realtek's customers, so it might not appear on the market until early 2024.
On the router side, Realtek didn't have any product demos, but we got to see its roadmap, with most products scheduled for launch sometime in Q3 or Q4 of 2024. Initially, Realtek appears to be targeting the lower end of the WiFi 7 market, with 2.4 and 5 GHz radios, although its new router SoC will incorporate support for 2.5 Gbps Ethernet for at least the WAN and LAN ports, which is good news as we should see more routers with faster wired interfaces. The tri-band models coming in Q4 also appear to be more affordable models than what we've seen from the likes of Broadcom and Qualcomm, with Realtek topping out at a 2+2+4 design, which means the 2.4 and 5 GHz radios will have two antennas each and the 6 GHz band getting four antennas. Again, it seems like Realtek has decided to stop at 160 MHz wide channels here too, which means its higher rated product will go under the BE9400 moniker when all bands are combined.
That is some impressive speeds for WiFi. 

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