Qualcomm’s Next-Generation WiFi Chips Capable of Delivering Speeds Up to 10Gbps
Talk of Project IEEE 802.11ay has been around for a couple of years now, and it was only a matter of time before we saw some results. The project started as an enhancement to the current state of wireless networks and is the followup to the 802.11ad protocol. 802.11ay adds four times the bandwidth and adding MIMO up to 4 streams compared to its predecessor. Qualcomm has announced they have created the industry’s first 802.11ay solution that delivers breakthrough 10Gbps network performance.
Qualcomm Technologies’ industry-first family of 11ay 60GHz Wi-Fi chipsets includes QCA6438 and QCA6428 for infrastructure and fixed wireless access, and the QCA6421 and QCA6431 for mobile applications. Earlier this year, Qualcomm Technologies, and Facebook announced they are working together to deliver high-speed internet connectivity with Facebook’s Terragraph technology through the development of a multi-node wireless system based on the QCA6438 and QCA6428 chipsets. Distinct from the 2.4 and 5GHz bands commonly used in Wi-Fi networks all over the world, mmWave-based 60GHz Wi-Fi is a low interference, bandwidth-rich spectrum that delivers increased wireless capacity, multi-gigabit speeds, and ultra-low latency. These attributes make 60GHz Wi-Fi ideally suited across a wide range of wireless ecosystems spanning mobile, enterprise, outdoor backhaul, and the smart home.
The Wifi nomenclature post 802.11ad was a bit shaky with some reports suggesting that 802.11ax could be renamed as WiFi 6, which is entirely separate from what Qualcomm has been working on with 802.11ay. WiFi 6 will be using the traditional 2.4GHz and 5GHz radio bands found in today’s Wi-Fi routers. 802.11ay adds 60GHz millimetre wave hardware that delivers even better speeds. Qualcomm’s new QCA64x8 (fixed) and QCA64x1 (mobile) chipsets, use the 60GHz spectrum to deliver speeds of up to 10Gbps and sub-millisecond latency. 5GHz can provide faster speeds compared to 2.4GHz, but it has less range and doesn’t penetrate through walls. The same is true with 802.11ay as it has a difficult time penetrating through walls.
The ASUS ROG Phone may ship with support for 802.11ay WiFi
The new chips also come with an “always-on ambient Wi-Fi sensing capabilities.” which allows devices to identify objects, people, movements, and even precise location without being affected by ambient conditions. Qualcomm expects this technology to be used for 4K movies, TV shows, and video games. A lag-free mobile experience is vital to any AR or VR experience. Qualcomm states that the chipsets are available today, but it’ll be a while before we see them in action. Bryan Chang, General Manager of ASUS Mobile Business Unit, says, “Our latest line of Republic of Gamers (ROG) mobile devices are designed specifically to meet these high-performance mobile gaming needs while leveraging Qualcomm Technologies’ existing 60GHz Wi-Fi solutions. We are happy to see Qualcomm Technologies continue their innovation on 60GHz Wi-Fi technology.” Hopefully, some 802.11ay-ready routers should be ready by next year allowing us to measure the real-world throughput of the technology.