Free is preparing a new Freebox Pop with Wi-Fi 7 for 2024

After the thunderous announcement of the Freebox Ultra, Free would be preparing a new version of its Freebox Pop, with several notable improvements but also a disappearance that will exclude some subscribers.

Last week, the operator Free unveiled its latest Internet box, the Freebox Ultra, in a conference with the characteristic style of the company, between a flashy keynote and a biting one-man show. Despite being high-end, the new Freebox has many advantages and even stands as the most complete box in terms of technologies and services available to date in France. However, the company seems to have a few surprises in store for 2024, as revealed by some documents published on its website, apparently by mistake, and since removed. This includes the existence of a new version of the Freebox Pop, with several interesting new features…but also a change that could exclude some subscribers.

Freebox Pop 2024: Wi-Fi 7 but no more ADSL

Free apparently published some documents prematurely related to the new version of the Freebox Pop currently being prepared. On Twitter (alias X), user TiinoX83 shared the technical specifications of several Free equipment. This includes the specifications of the Freebox Ultra, Pocket Wi-Fi, and Wi-Fi 7 Repeater, officially announced during the Free conference, but also those of the Freebox Pop Server and Player, labeled “2024”. Although an update to these products released four years ago is not surprising, Free probably did not want to communicate about this at the moment, in order to leave the media space free for its Freebox Ultra, and has since removed the specifications from its site.

Not quickly enough, however, to prevent curious users from retrieving and publishing these documents, which allow us to have an overview of the technical innovations brought by the 2024 version of the Freebox Pop. First significant information, we learn that Wi-Fi 7 will not be exclusive to the Freebox Ultra, the future Pop model is also expected to benefit from the latest wireless communication protocol standard. However, unlike the Ultra, the Freebox Pop 2024 will not support the new 6 GHz frequency band and will have to make do with the classic 2.4 and 5 GHz, which will somewhat limit the interest of Wi-Fi 7 on this model. Another new feature, a physical on/off switch will appear on the Pop box and will allow it to be turned off or restarted more quickly. A convenient button for saving energy. And finally, a hanging system for wall mounting will be added to the lower part of the box, in order to be able to connect the box as close as possible to the optical termination point (PTO) of its housing.

© Free

On the other hand, this 2024 version of the Freebox Pop confirms the inexorable and forced march of the operator towards all-optical fiber, with the regrettable disappearance of the ADSL connection. Like the Freebox Ultra, this model will therefore be reserved only for subscribers with optical fiber in their homes. While this technology is obviously the natural and desirable evolution of wired telecommunications networks in France, its deployment for all users is far from complete, notwithstanding the latest figures from operators and ARCEP, which only provide a macroscopic view and completely overlook a large number of specific situations. And contrary to popular belief, residents in rural, isolated or difficult-to-reach areas are not the only ones deprived of this technology, as many homes in very dense urban areas are still not connected, either due to the lack of interest from operators in certain popular cities, or due to the refusal of property owners to install optical fiber in their buildings, to the detriment of their tenants.

© Free

Freebox Player: a new TV box for the Freebox Ultra

During the presentation conference of the Freebox Ultra, an element caught the attention of some observers: the absence of a TV box dedicated to the new box. For the moment, subscribers who opt for the new Freebox Ultra offer will have to “settle” for the Pop Player, the TV box included in the Freebox Pop offer. In an interview with the Univers Freebox website, the head of Free returns to this notable absence and explains it in part by the evolution of subscribers’ viewing habits, who now use their smartphone or connected TV more to access video content.

The need to renew the Freebox’s TV box was therefore not urgent, and the teams instead focused on the development of the new Server for the Freebox Ultra. However, Xavier Niel confirms that a new Player is indeed in development, with a release planned for spring 2024, but specifying that the project seems to have been significantly delayed and will likely be postponed further into the year.

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