At its recent Executive Summit, MediaTek talked about its Filogic 880 and Filogic 330 WiFi 7 solutions (announced in May 2023) and, more importantly, showed live demonstrations of both the router and client sides. One of the demos features a speed of 13Gbps between two WiFi 7 devices, which is phenomenal.
If you’re unfamiliar with these two platforms, Filogic 880 is destined to power WiFi 7 in the router, while Filogic 330 is integrated into clients such as computers, Smart TVs, etc.
Even though these demos are set up to show the best-case scenarios, the technological prowess is nonetheless impressive and previews where consumer-level wireless networking is heading in the near term.
In this case, two WiFi-7 router devices were close to each other, and a demonstration laptop had external antennas. It’s not a real-world scenario, but the laptop demo shows the final WiFi 7 speed might be limited by the antenna design rather than the chipset. This again shows that many wireless networking challenges also reside in the analog domain.
The Filogic 880 is meant to communicate with multiple WiFi 7 devices simultaneously, and its maximum theoretical bandwidth is 36Gbps. That’s an imposing number, even for users equipped with fast equipment. I still use wired Ethernet for its reliability and low latency, but these demos made me want to try wireless again on my primary PC.
Filogic 880 has meaningful features such as a VPN accelerator (tunneling offload engine) or its hardware cryptography engine. Thanks to the rise of Work-from-Home employees, more people need these features than ever before.
For the most demanding customers, Filogic 880 supports two 10Gbps wired Ethernet ports, which could be very handy for transferring files between two workstations on the local network. That’s assuming such computers do have 10 Gbps Ethernet support, and that’s unfortunately uncommon without buying an adapter ($100-$300). It’s not cheap, but SMBs and power users would appreciate the option.
All this speed is made possible by some of the nerdiest and most advanced radio and signal processing technologies, such as operating multiple frequencies (MLO, Multiple Link Operation) or supporting all possible WiFi bands, advanced beamforming, and highly parallel processing.
The Filogic 380 is a client-side WiFi 7 chip that typically talks to one router device, or mesh node, at a speed of up to 6.5 Gbps. It achieves such rates by using simultaneous bands and channels. I can’t imagine a real-world scenario where WiFi 7 performance is limited by the chip rather than by the antenna design or external factors WiFi environment or router. This seems like a good long-term investment.
The past few years have been incredible for WiFi with the arrival of WiFi Mesh networks, then WiFi-6, followed by WiFi 6E. The work on WiFi 7 seems well underway, with solid demos from MediaTek. This gives OEMs a great connectivity platform to build upon, and it’s a great incentive to use MediaTek as the overall platform (including SoC) rather than doing some mix and matching. Expect more demos at CES 2023, perhaps with product announcements.