Qualcomm launches new family of tri-radio 802.11ac platforms

Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) was first to market with 802.11ac Wave 2 for the enterprise, and now it's getting out in front with a new family of tri-radio 802.11ac platforms designed for home networks. Qualcomm made the tri-radio announcement at the Computex 2016 trade show in Taipei, Taiwan.

Wave 2 means it incorporates multi-use multiple input multiple output (MU-MIMO) technology, which allows you to group a number of clients together to use all the available capacity on the access point.

Whereas Qualcomm's initial launch of these products was geared for the premium segment, "we're now driving this technology down into mainstream price points," said Mark Grodzinsky, senior director, product management, Qualcomm Atheros.

Expect to see a variety of products using the new features, which include Wi-Fi self-organizing networks (SON) technology. Already, six Tier 1 OEMs are set to deploy products in the second half of this year that will be doing MU-MIMO. Amped Wireless, Asustek Computer, Linksys and TP-Link all contributed supporting quotes to Qualcomm's press release announcing the tri-radio launch.

The new technology has implications for Wi-Fi First service providers because they need to do everything they can to make sure their networks are using available bandwidth as efficiently as possible, and it will make Wi-Fi perform better; he said.

In the big picture, improving network capacity means looking at both the wireless and wired perspectives, he said. Qualcomm also announced at Computex 2016 that it's introducing end-to-end GigaDSL products that enable broadband operators to seamlessly transition deployments from VDSL to Gigabit access technologies.

The new QCO5700 is geared for multiple dwelling units and the QCM5720 offers the ability for customer premise equipment to provide up to 1 Gigabit per second broadband over existing phone lines while maintaining interoperability with carriers' existing modems and seamless coexistence with deployed infrastructure.

With the Internet of Things (IoT), various technologies are in play, including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, small cell LTE and more.

Can Qualcomm solve the IoT fragmentation problem? "I think it will be solved in stages," Grodzinsky said. "It's absolutely our intent to have our networking products be the center of the digital home and the connected home and make sure that IoT devices and Wi-Fi devices and Bluetooth devices can all connect and be managed in a uniform fashion."

As for 60 GHz, Qualcomm Atheros announced at CES in January that it was enabling a number of new multi-band Wi-Fi products featuring 802.11ad in the 60 GHz band and 2.4/5 GHz 802.11ac with MU-MIMO across networking, mobile and computing segments. TP Link's router, Talon, and an Acer laptop and IP dock now are commercially available.

Qualcomm also expects to lead the way in next-generation technologies like 802.11ax and ay, which are the next iterations of 802.11ac and ad.

For more: 
- see the press release

Related articles:
Qualcomm drives 802.11ac 2.0 ecosystem for faster Wi-Fi, intros new chip
Qualcomm secures 60 GHz WiGig beachhead with Wilocity acquisition
Qualcomm ups Wi-Fi capacity via 802.11ac multi-user MIMO

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