Wi-Fi 7

Wi-Fi 7 (Image credit: Shutterstock)

The Wi-Fi 7 standard is yet to be finalized, but Intel’s BE200 Wi-Fi 7 controller is apparently already in short supply. As noticed by @ghost_motley, lead times of the Intel BE200 Wi-Fi solution have gone from six weeks to 12 weeks on Mouser, a major chip distributor.

“Intel BE200 lead time has gone from 6 weeks to 12 weeks on Mouser,” he wrote at X (former Twitter). “May explain why the Z790 refresh boards reviewed so far have all had the Qualcomm Wi-Fi [7] chipset.”

Mouser expects 27 BE200 Wi-Fi 7 modules to arrive on November 21, 2023. Meanwhile, the factory lead time of the module is listed as 12 weeks. Each module costs €18.53 when bought in a quantity of one, but its price will decrease to €15.42 when bought in a quantity of 500 or more.

Intel currently lists two draft Wi-Fi 7 M.2-2230 adapters: the Intel BE200 and the Intel BE202. These adapters are compatible with 2×2 TX/RX streams and operate on the 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz, and 6 GHz frequency bands. The BE200 boasts a top speed of 5 Gbit/s, which falls short of the peak transfer rate of the standard. While the precise distinctions between the BE200 and BE202 remain unclear, Intel has stated that the BE200 has received Wi-Fi 7 pre-certification. Additionally, the BE200 and BE202 support PCIe and USB interfaces, making them suitable for desktop motherboards and laptops.

The upcoming Gigabyte Aorus Z790 Master X motherboard (PCB revision 1.2) will feature the BE200. On the other hand, certain other versions of this platform use Qualcomm’s Wi-Fi 7 QCNCM865 (PCB rev. 1.0) and MediaTek’s Wi-Fi 7 MT7927, RZ738 (PCB rev. 1.1). For users to fully leverage Wi-Fi 7 capabilities, they must also employ Wi-Fi 7-compliant routers and access points.

Wi-Fi 7 is set to deliver remarkable speeds, with a potential peak aggregated bitrate of 40 Gbit/s, which suggests that it might replace wired Ethernet for most users. Wi-Fi 7 will use three frequency bands to reach these lofty speeds: 2.40 GHz, 5 GHz, and 6 GHz. Additionally, it will increase the channel width to 320 MHz and adopt 4096-QAM. Despite these capabilities, several devices, like Intel’s BE200, might still operate at reduced speeds.

Building on the legacy of its predecessors, Wi-Fi 7 will be anchored on key features such as MU-MIMO (Multi-User Multiple-Input Multiple-Output) and OFDMA (Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiple Access). These attributes, previously introduced by Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E, are intended to enhance wireless connection efficiency and capacity. 

Intel initially saw Wi-Fi 7 as a perfect fit for high-bandwidth activities, particularly in the realm of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) headsets leveraging Intel’s WiGig technology. Although the IEEE aims to officially adopt the IEEE 802.11be specification by 2025, Intel, among other companies, holds a positive view of Wi-Fi 7’s potential. This optimism is evidenced by their early release of Wi-Fi 7-compliant controllers and adapters.

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Anton Shilov is a Freelance News Writer at Tom’s Hardware US. Over the past couple of decades, he has covered everything from CPUs and GPUs to supercomputers and from modern process technologies and latest fab tools to high-tech industry trends.

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