Qualcomm, the world’s preeminent chip manufacturer is hoping to bring your wireless network up to speed with the release of two new 802.11ax chips. The IPQ8074 system-on-chip (SoC) for broadcasters (routers and access points) and the QCA6290 SoC for receivers (Wi-Fi Capable Devices) are being marketed as belonging to the first end-to-end commercial Wi-Fi portfolio to support the brand new 802.11ax wireless standard.
For those who are unfamiliar with the new standard, it’s the next step in the evolution of wi-fi, succeeding the current most popular standard, 802.11ac. Similar to 802.11ac the new standard is backward compatible with previous wi-fi generations. What sets this standard apart from its predecessors is that in addition to a strong focus on speed, it also dedicates itself to wi-fi efficiency and network capacity in crowded air spaces. When it comes to speed, the new standard isn’t playing around; it’s capable of being four times faster than the AC standard. In terms of hardware, an 802.11ax router helps pre-AX wireless devices experience faster network speeds due to its ability to manage traffic diversity and overcome the density of overlapping networks.
Now on to the chips themselves. The IPQ8074 is a highly integrated all-in-one platform designed for access points, routers, and gateways. This 14nm chip integrates an 11ax radio, MAC and baseband, and a quad-core 64 bit A53 CPU, in addition to dual-core network accelerator. The chip uses a 12×12 wi-fi configuration and supports MU-MIMO for uplink. Because of this, the chip can deliver up to 4.8 Gbps while maintaining fast connection over a larger coverage area than any existing 802.11ac chip.
Moving on to the QCA chip, Qualcomm claims that the chip can quadruple throughput speed in highly crowded networks. The chips is able to support 2×2 MU-MIMO and can realize the full benefits of the 8×8 MU-MIMO because of its 8×8 sounding mechanism. The chip brings together 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands using its Dual Band Simultaneous feature to deliver up to 1.8 Gbps wi-fi speeds. Hold this against the current standard 802.11ac, and you’ll see that this chip can reduce power consumption by two thirds.
Qualcomm says that its expects to sample both the QCA and IPQ chips in the first part of 2017. For consumers, that means that we could see 802.11ax capable devices by the end of the year! Let’s hope!
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