The Wi-Fi 7 standard

Wireless communication is so common nowadays that we don’t think about it anymore. Whether it is outside on our mobile phones, using it at home on our laptops and tablets, or using portable devices on Bluetooth, wireless communication is just always there. We expect it to be available and fast. To make that possible, development never stops. The newest development now? Wi-Fi 7.

What is Wi-Fi 7?

Wi-Fi 7 is like you would expect, the successor of the previous Wi-Fi standard, Wi-Fi 6 (and Wi-Fi 6E). Wi-Fi 7 will be known as the 802.11be standard. It will use the 2.5, 5, and 6 GHz frequency bands, which is the same for the 6 and 6E versions. Nothing new there.

What is new in the Wi-Fi 7 standard is the use of a 320 MHz channel in the 6 GHZ band. So, more bandwidth for data, which will benefit high-demand data streams. At the same time, Wi-Fi 7 will be downwards compatible, so it can be used with all devices that only support older Wi-Fi standards.

The biggest improvement I believe is the changes in the Multi-User, Multiple Input, Multiple Output (MU-MIMO) support. The number of channels is increased from 8 to 16. This together with the addition of Multi-Link Operation (MLO) improves the data transfer and reduces the latency. MLO allows the switching (or even parallel) use of the band used for data transfer rather than a single one.

What are the benefits?

With the wider frequency channels on the supported bands, together with the multi-link options, the main advantages of Wi-Fi 7 over the previous Wi-Fi versions are improved speed and reduced latency.

In theory Wi-Fi 7 will enable transfer speeds up to 46 Gbps. Compared to the 9.6 Gbps of the Wi-Fi 6E standard, that is a significant increase. Intel expects a typical laptop to have a data transfer rate of up to 5.8 Gbps). Although the support of a 320 MHz channel contributes to this, the Multi-Link Operation (MLO) is the main reason for these improvements.

A secondary benefit of the new Wi-Fi 7 standard is the new feature called Restricted Wake Time, which will help your devices save battery. Devices will be in power save mode as much as possible since the awake time allows access points and routers to manage the network activity (Also see Target Wake Time – TWT).

The last new benefit of Wi-Fi 7 is that it will support more simultaneous connections. So I you plan to connect all devices in your home (or have a lot of parties with guests that use your Wi-Fi connection), the new standard will help ensure speed and latency are optimal.

When will Wi-Fi 7 be available?

Routers that will support Wi-Fi 7 will become available are expected later in 2023, with all major manufacturers planning releases.

Qualcomm will have Wi-Fi 7 chipset available that enables speeds up to 33 Gbps. Linksys is planning to use this chipset in their new routers, even though they have not announced any releases. TP-Link (Archer BE900), Netgear (Nighthawk RS-700), Asus (ROG Rapture GT-BE98), and MSI (RadiX BE22000 Turbo) did already announce new products with Wi-Fi 7 support.

Wi-Fi 7 Router

Do I need Wi-Fi 7?

Currently? Maybe not. In the future, more likely, yes. As is clear from the above, the benefits are speed, multi-device support, reduced latency, and more bandwidth. If you are an avid gamer, low latency is important. Other things that might be considered for upgrading are video streaming (with 8K becoming more common), or the internet of things (IoT) where we connect all our devices to the Internet (your fridge ordering your groceries for example).

As always with device upgrades, the need to upgrade will also depend on the current situation. If you plan to upgrade or replace an older router, waiting for the new Wi-Fi 7-enabled routers would be a good idea. If you don’t think you will need the advantages the Wi-Fi 7 standard offers, your ISP speed is low anyway, or the cost of a router is a consideration, getting a Wi-Fi 7-enabled router would not be recommended.

Do keep in mind that all your other wireless devices will also need support for Wi-Fi 7. The latest mobile phones and laptops might have it, but a lot of other wireless devices will currently not include support.

Windows Security through Driver Block Rules

Many computers are used for critical tasks or to process sensitive data. To protect a system, especially a portable system, that is running Windows, Microsoft has several security features in the latest Windows releases. Most people know about Microsoft Defender and biometric access, but in Windows 10 and Windows 11, there is also something called driver block rules.

Are Drivers Dangerous?

Device drivers are not dangerous per se. But device drivers, like many other critical components in the Windows operating system, run with a kernel-level execution priority. That means that even if drivers are not malicious, they can allow elevated control access.

Modern device drivers are all digitally signed, and often verified by Microsoft. And in the latest Windows versions unsigned drivers are not allowed to be installed unless special steps are taken to disable driver signature enforcement.

But even with a digital signature, there is no guarantee that the driver is completely safe. Digital signatures can be stolen (hacks of hardware/software companies, like Nvidia recently).

Recent malware attacks have leveraged the vulnerabilities of drivers to compromise system security. It makes a lot of sense to increase the protection of these system components.

What are Driver Block Rules?

Driver block rules are a set of rules that are recommended by Microsoft to block drivers that are malicious or not trusted. Drivers can be submitted to Microsoft for review and analysis and bad ones are added to the vulnerable driver blocklist. Hardware manufacturers and OEM partners will play a big role in keeping the rules actual and relevant.

How to use Driver Block Rules?

Microsoft is including a setting in the Windows Defender configuration to turn on this new feature called Microsoft Vulnerable Driver Blocklist. That means turning it on will activate the protection.

Windows Driver Block Rules

This new feature will be only activated by default on special Windows editions. Windows 10 S mode, and devices that have the Memory Code Integrity feature (or HyperVisor-protected Code Integrity – HVCI).

For Windows systems where the S mode or HVCI is not possible there is another option, which is using the Windows Defender Application Control (WDAC) policy. Details about how to use WDAC and the list of rules can be found on the Microsoft website.

WDAC is all about preventing apps or processes to run kernel level. Use and deployment of the rules is something that will typically be used by organizations with IT staff to implement this.

Driver BlockList Limitations

Although the concept the blocklist is good, the method strongly depends on the quality of the list. It was already found that the blocklist is not including all drivers that need to be blocked. Apparently new Windows versions were being issues a list from 2019! Microsoft already confirmed the issue and will address the problem in the Windows October updates to ensure the list is new and in sync across Windows 10 and Windows 11.

In addition, the block list is now on by default in Windows 11 (version 22H2). It also seems the option to disable the list is no longer present. Is Microsoft finally able to prevent the Blue Screens showing Stop errors caused by drivers?

For people still wanting to disable the list on Windows 11 version 22H2, there might be a workaround through the registry. But it is not an official and documented option.

Use the Registry Editor to find the folloing key:


And create a DWORD Value in it named VulnerableDriverBlocklistEnable with a data value of zero (0).

News: Microsoft Restricts Windows 7 Driver Updates

Last week, on June 17, 2021, Microsoft has stopped accepting driver submissions for Windows Update for Windows 7 SP1 (and Windows Server 2008). As a result, there will be no more new Windows 7 drivers released through Microsoft Windows Update for your Windows 7 laptop or PC.

Of course, Microsoft already discontinued support for Windows 7 last year, in January 2020. So now the driver updates have also stopped.

The main reason for this step is security. Microsoft was using a Secure Hash Algorithm (SHA-1 ) trusted root certificate to allow signed drivers to be submitted for Windows Update. The SHA-1 algorithm, however, has become less secure and has been superseded by SHA-2. Microsoft has expired the SHA-1 trusted root certificate authority and will only allow SHA-2 signed drivers into Windows Update.

The switch from SHA-1 to SHA-2 was effective from May 9, 2021. All SHA-1 signed content is removed from the Microsoft Download Center.

Windows 7 Driver Updates

What is the Impact on You?

If you have a Windows 7 PC, you will no longer receive driver updates via Windows Update.

It also means that if you reinstall a fresh copy of Windows 7, you might not be able to get all the necessary drivers you need automatically.

Manufacturers can still submit drivers for Windows 7 and Windows 2008 through the Windows Hardware Compatibility Program for now, but these will only be available to customers that use Volume Licensing and participate in the Extended Security Program.

Manually locating and manually installing drivers in Windows 7 remains possible though.

[More details on this Microsoft change can be found here.]

Windows 7 Driver Update Alternative

If manually searching, downloading, and installing drivers is not your thing… you can always use DriverFinder to help you.

The DriverFinder database contains ‘legacy drivers’.

Legacy drivers are drivers that are ‘older’ than the latest Windows OS version. Since we’re now on Windows 10, Windows 7 drivers can be considered legacy drivers.

By the way, drivers in the DriverFinder database are sourced DIRECTLY from hardware manufactures so rest assured that the right Windows 7 driver update is recommended.

Here’s how you can still have Windows 7 driver updates via DriverFinder (no manual searching!).

  1. Download the DriverFinder program.
  2. Get a license and Activate the program.
  3. Run a Driver Scan.
  4. Download the Windows 7 driver recommendations from the scan results.
    Download Synaptics Touchpad driver using DriverFinder
  5. Run the driver installer(s) provided to install the driver.

What is WiFi 6E? (Windows 10 Support, Others)

This article discusses the new WiFi standard – WiFi 6E. Find what it is and if it’s supported in Windows 10.

Intel WiFi 6E

What is WiFi 6E?

WiFi 6E is a new WiFi standard that includes support for the 6GHz band (in addition to the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands). The technology used is the same as on the 5GHz band, so the maximum speed is the same, 9.6Gbps.

Essentially WiFi 6E is the same as WiFi 6 but with the addtional 6GHz band included. The WiFi 6 standard is identified as 802.11ax. WiFi 6E will use the same identification.

What is the Benefit of WiFi 6E for Wireless Networking?

The main benefit is speed. The 5GHz band has a limited spectrum, which affects WiFi signals. Having the additional 6GHz band available will allow for more devices and faster connections. Remember that the 2.4GHz band offers more range, but the 5GHZ (and 6GHz) bands allow for faster connections.

In the 5GHz band, the spectrum is limited to about 400MHz, while the FCC is opening up 1200MHz of spectrum in the 6GHz band. That means the channel size will increase (7 channels of 140MHz), resulting in performance improvements, and even range benefits.

Wi-Fi ^e Channels and bandwidth

One of the main benefits that will come from the new WiFi standard is the improved support for MU-MIMO  technology (Multi-User, Multiple-Input, Multiple-Output). This allows multiple users to access a wireless network at the same time. With more devices, more speed means better support for multi-user home networking, or online classrooms. This is great news in this time of the COVID-19 pandemic and good news for the Internet-Of-Things, where all home devices will be connected to the Internet.

The benefits of WiFi 6E will benefit services that need high-speed bandwidth, like video streaming, virtual reality and gaming.

Since WiFi 6 is backward compatible, new devices will still be compatible with older hardware, although the limitations of the older hardware will then apply.

Are There Any Limitations to this WiFi Standard?

Well yes. The 6GHz band is approved for unlicensed use by the FCC in the US. In other countries the use of the 6GHz band will also need to be allowed. For European countries, that could be expected this year. For other countries, the approval will also need to be given before the WiFi 6E can be used. UK and South Korea are other early adopters of the standard.

When Will WiFi 6E be Available?

Manufacturers have already started adopting the new WiFi 6E standard and are supporting it in their devices. Companies like Intel, Realtek, Broadcom and Qualcomm have committed devices to be compatible with the new standard. Router companies like Netgear and Linksys will also support the new standard in their new or updated products. Cell phone companies will also adopt the new standard based on its approval in various countries.

Support for WiFi 6E is starting to be available this year. Samsung is expected to include support in their new Galaxy S21 series phone, and others will surely follow soon.

The same applies to routers and network cards. Netgear routers with support for WiFi 6E are expected in Spring 2021. TP-Link, Asus and Linksys routers will also be available during Spring or Summer of 2021.

Intel AX210Intel already launched their first wireless card that has WiFi 6E support, the Intel WiFi 6E AX210.

The card has a M.2 2230 interface, so you’ll need a motherboard that supports a M.2 WiFi module. But it supports the 802.11ax protocol.

Other manufacturers have also used the Intel chipset to create WiFi 6E cards, like the OKN Intel WiFi 6E AX210. Most new cards also support the Bluetooth 5.0 standard, and this OKN device even supports Bluetooth 5.2 (high-speed transfer, low latency).

Asus ROG Raptrure GT-AXE1On the router front, the Asus ROG Rapture GT-AXE1 1000 Gaming Router is one of the first that has support for the WiFi 6E standard.

TP-Link also has a range of WiFi 6E compatible devices available (router, mesh devices, PC card).

ASRock has also released new motherboards that support WiFi 6E (and Bluetooth 5.2). The Z590 Extreme WiFi 6E for example.

What Does this Mean for Windows 10 Support?

For Windows 10 support of the new WiFi 6E standard, all that is required will be a compatible device and updated device drivers. That means a laptop, notebook or portable device that uses a chipset with WiFi 6E support, or for a desktop computer, adding a wireless network card that supports the new WiFi 6E standard.

For the Intel AX210 based M.2 cards, the latest Intel Wireless drivers are required, which support the 802.11ax protocol.

For other manufacturers, updated drivers will need to be installed for the WiFi 6E compatible devices when they become available.

If you cannot manually find a driver for your WiFi 6E device, download DriverFinder and let it find a wireless driver for you automatically, and find updates for other device drivers at the same time.

How Can I See If I’m Connected to WiFi 6 in Windows 11?

To check if your PC is connected to a WiFi 6 network, simply check the properties of the wireless connection in Windows 11.

  1. Right-click the wireless icon on the right side of the taskbar (1).
  2. Click Network and Internet settings in the context menu (2).
    Windows 11 Wireless Internet Settings
    This will open the Settings window.
  3. Click the Wi-Fi option to show the currently active wireless network.
  4. Next, click the properties option for the current wireless network (identified by the network SSID).
    Wireless SSID connection
  5. Scroll down to the section that contains the Protocol. It will show Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) when the connection is using the WiFi 6 protocol.
    Wi-Fi 6 Protocol
    Tip: Further down in the wireless properties you can also see the driver version for your wireless adapter!
  6. Close the Settings window when done.


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