The FCC's move to release more 5 GHz frequencies for gigabit Wi-Fi use reflects efforts to develop and employ spectrum-sharing techniques to open up encumbered frequencies. It also highlights the ongoing battle between parties advocating for licensed vs. unlicensed spectrum allocations.
The following technologies are the hottest ones in the industry right now, generating support from carriers, device makers and network vendors. Some of these technologies were introduced in 2012 or even before, but we think that they will gain widespread attention and adoption in 2013.
The Wi-Fi Alliance certified 25 percent more products during 2012 than 2011, led by 64 percent year-over-year growth in certifications for devices in the consumer electronics (CE) category. The handset category drew a 34 percent year-over-year jump in certifications.
The FCC moved to satiate the public's growing appetite for Wi-Fi by promising to unleash 195 MHz of spectrum in the 5 GHz band, which the commission contends will alleviate Wi-Fi congestion at major gathering places and enable higher data speeds and greater capacity for "Gigabit Wi-Fi" applications.
Qualcomm Atheros and Wilocity unveiled what they claim is the first tri-band reference design combining 802.11ac Wi-Fi and 802.11ad WiGig wireless capabilities on a single module.
Apple reportedly intends to add 802.11ac chips from Broadcom to its 2013 Mac computer lineup and is also planning to add a bevy of colors and screen sizes to its iPhone lineup.
The market for wireless LAN equipment passed the $1 billion milestone for the first time ever during the third quarter of 2012, according to market research firm Infonetics. The firm also noted that shipments of 802.11ac Wi-Fi products will increase in popularity in 2013.
Marvell Semiconductor is touting its new Avastar 88W8864 system-on-chip (SoC) as the industry's first 802.11ac 4x4 MIMO solution. The new chip, which is currently sampling, offers a 1.3 Gbps peak data rate and is designed for use in enterprise and retail access points, service provider gateways, hotspots, video bridges and set-top boxes.
Qualcomm Atheros' hybrid chipset that combines Wi-Fi and HomePlug powerline communication (PLC) technologies is enabling a new segment of Wi-Fi range extenders based on the IEEE P1905.1 standard.
Apple's next iPhone, expected to be announced on Wednesday, will support multiple LTE bands for worldwide service and possibly China's TD-SCDMA 3G standard, according to various reports.