If you want faster Wi-Fi you’ll have to ditch Windows 10 soon

A new version of Wi-Fi is on the way but millions of PC users might be unable to connect to it if they are still using Windows 10. Wi-Fi 7 is a new standard that promises faster speeds but it looks like your Windows computer will only play nice if you upgrade to Windows 11.

A company that released one of the first Wi-Fi 7 routers says the tech will only work with Windows 11 when the new technology arrives in 2025, as spotted by PCWorld. That’s because Windows 10 PCs don’t have access to the correct frequency bands needed for this better broadband standard.

That sounds like a long way off, but it’s also the year Windows 10 is officially left for dead as Microsoft won’t support it after 14 October 2025. Windows 10 PCs will still work after that date, but will no longer receive security updates so will be at risk of online attacks.

It means Microsoft will have supported Windows 10 for 10 years given it launched in 2015. But Microsoft also said back then that it could be the last ever version of Windows. That proved not the case when Windows 11 was unveiled in 2021.

Microsoft introduces Windows 11 in 2021

As of August 2023, 72% of all Windows devices in the world still run on Windows 10, with Windows 11 at a tiny 23% in comparison according to data from StatsCounter. In 2022 Microsoft said there were 1.4 billion Windows devices in use – meaning millions of people are still on Windows 10.

When the new era of Wi-Fi speeds arrives, it could force these people to upgrade their computer to Windows 11 if compatible – or fork out hundreds on a new PC.

It’s a little confusing that Wi-Fi 7 products are already being announced when the tech isn’t expected to go mainstream until 2025 – it’s best to think of them as ‘Wi-Fi 7 ready’, like when TV in the late 2000s used to say their new TVs were ‘HD ready’ before HD content was widespread.

Mobile provider EE recently announced a next-gen Smart Hub router that will launch in 2024 so customers can access faster WiFi. But it’s not just about the router, as your devices also have to be Wi-Fi 7 compatible. As an example of how long it could take for your gadgets to catch up, the brand-new iPhone 15 is only Wi-Fi 6 compatible.

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The recently released Sky Wi-Fi Max Hub also only uses Wi-Fi 6, while the more common Sky Broadband Hub, which Sky still sells as its standard router, is stuck on Wi-Fi 5. You can connect any device to any router, but you have to have the latest version on both router and device to achieve the fastest speeds.

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