Late January / Early February 2024

Late January / Early February 2024 – Update

I am all excited about Wi-Fi 7. Below is my story so far with Wi-Fi7. I have included links* where applicable.

* These links are in no way recommendations. They also may not be the exact products I bought. They may be links to show you products similar to the ones I used. Whilst every precaution has been taken, we can accept no responsibility for what happens if you follow links away from this blog. Follow links at your own risk.

It’s time to order some “bits”. So, I order two EERO Max 7 APs from Amazon, and a new Samsung S24 Ultra from AT&T.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09HJGSNXB?psc=1&ref=ppx_yo2ov_dt_b_product_details

My EEROs arrive, and my Samsung Ultra arrives early… thanks AT&T!

I do the upgrade from my old S23 to my new S24 and it is really easy. I copy the data over, go to the AT&T website to switch over, and finally reset my old S23.

I really have to give credit to Samsung and AT&T here: it was an absolute pleasure and so easy to upgrade!

Next, add my EERO APs. Again, it’s simple: go into the EERO app and tell it you want to swap out a current Mesh AP for a new model… Real easy!

Next thing you know I am connected at nearly 5Gbps, zoooooooooooom!!!!!!

Result: Wi-Fi7 has officially arrived at my house. “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…”

Ok, let’s get some clients onboarded…

If anyone has read my blog from Wi-Fi6E, I have a Dell laptop and two PC’s that are ”upgradeable” with M.2 slots. The Dell and one motherboard has a built-in M.2 slot, the other is running a “Killer” PCI-e to M.2 converter.

https://6ewi-fi.com/my-story-with-6e-aps-and-clients/

I upgraded these devices to Intel AX210s.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08MJLPZPL/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

So, I check, and the Intel BE200 is available on Amazon. Met a guy from Intel at the WBA. He showed me an early BE200, and confirmed they are a similar format to the AX210. I was so excited! I just had to wait until Intel launched them!

Intel are launching two chips: the BE200 and the BE202. Basically, one of the main differences is that the 202 will only do 160MHz channel bonding, whereas the 200 promises to do the full 320MHz.

So, I ordered 3 BE200s, from Amazon.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0CPPHCQXD?ref=ppx_yo2ov_dt_b_product_details&th=1

They arrive, and I get excited.

First job: upgrade the PC with the M.2 slot:

ASUS ROG Strix B450-F Gaming II AMD AM4

https://www.newegg.com/asus-rog-strix-b450-f-gaming-ii/p/N82E16813119356?Item=N82E16813119356

H’mmm… PC works fine with AX210, but won’t go past BIOS. It just keeps rebooting.

Replace AX210. It works fine. I wasted a few hours on this…

So, Google time! It seems people believe the BE200 will only work with Intel CPU, I have an AMD. Aaaaargh!!!

Multiple people discuss this, and Dong (who knows things, yes, a joke), who is absolutely awesome, says this in his blog:

Intel BE200-based Wi-Fi 7 Upgrade on Select PCs: The Hardware Requirements and Step-by-Step Guide

I am bitterly disappointed!!! My other PC also has an AMD board, so I don’t even bother to try it in the Killer.

Anyway, in the mean-time, I ask Keith Parsons if we can organize a Wi-Fi 7 event to do some testing at WLPC. Keith says yes, and it turns out I am not the only one. Several of us start a conversation going, and we are going to have a “Wi-Fi7 fest” at WLPC. Yaaay!

The “Wlan Pi” guys are even looking at upgrading the WLAN Pis to BE200.

Now, hopefully, you picked up on this before I did, it took me a while…

Hang on, if they are upgrading BE200s in Pis, they don’t run Intel chips, how’s that then?

So, I reach out to my friend Jerry Olla, and he explains, “Oh you have to get the Intel No vPro BE200, and they have tested it, and it works in the Pi.” He also told me to chat to Joshua  Schmelzle, who has it working with Windows. So there is hope!

By the way, totally hoping to upgrade my Pis at WLPC!

Sometime later, I discover that Josh has it working, and that it is theoretically doable.

Apparently, there has been some trouble with shipping of the chips, and vendors have shipped vPros, when they should have shipped No vPros!

Seems not to be an easy way to differentiate.

So, on with the Sherlock Holmes hat, and off I go. After some time searching, I notice that on Intel’s website, if you look hard enough, there may be a way to differentiate between vPro, and No vPro. This web site shows different numbers for the two products under MM (this is the only difference I can find):

https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/collections/content-type/mdds.html?q=788586&s=Relevancy

“Ah hah!!!” “Eureka!!!” and so on.

So, here’s my chip:

Yep, it says MM: 99C472. So, that’s supposed to be a No vPro. I’m disappointed again!

Josh said he ordered his from Mouser, and Mouser actually states they are No vPro (where Amazon technically didn’t). Also, they are cheaper on Mouser…

https://www.mouser.com/ProductDetail/607-BE200.NGWG.NV

So, I ordered some, and now I have to wait until they arrive. I returned the ones from Amazon (which I do really like about Amazon). Update to follow.

Right, then. Well, my Dell has an Intel Chip, so let’s try that.

I read up on Dong, and he suggests that you should be on Windows 23H2, and should install the correct Intel driver before you install the hardware.

My Dell is 22H2 and will not accept the upgrade, no matter what I do. I visit the Microsoft Tech site, and they say that you can use one of the W10 upgrade tools to upgrade W11 to the latest W11. Seems very dubious, but I backup up my data, and gave it a try.

Wheyhey!!! Yes!!! Sometime later… and I am now on 23H2!!! I install the Intel driver, and off we go.

Power down, I unscrew the back, flip out the AX210, and I remember noticing the BE200 doesn’t have a slot, like the AX210 does in the lower right. But it wasn’t a problem in the other M.2 slots, so it should be ok, right?

Nope.

The BE200 physically does not fit in my Dell AX210 compatible slot. I am researching this, and I believe it is to do with slot keying. So it’s entirely possible I may not be able to upgrade my Dell to the Intel BE series after all! If anyone knows the solution, please let me know, to save me researching!

I have found a great M.2 source that explains E keying and A&E keying, but they appear to both be using PCIe (x2) and USB.

https://www.delock.de/infothek/M.2/M.2_e.html#:~:text=variants%20are%20there%3F-,The%20M.,as%20well%20as%20SATA%20SSDs

I am disappointed, yet again!!!

So, I put the AX210 back in.

Now I have to wait: wait for my Mouser delivery, and wait to see what comes out from Intel and other vendors over the next few months as Wi-Fi 7 becomes more popular.

I have found photos supposedly of the BE202: one with, and one without, the notch… so I’ve no idea (until I can order one) whether it will solve my Dell problem.

Stay tuned, I’ll keep you updated.

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