Competition in the 802.11ac Wi-Fi arena continues ramping up, with Quantenna, Broadcom and Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) each announcing new generations of chipsets with improved data performance and network capacity. However, the rivals are taking different tacks to achieve those performance gains.
Quantenna Communications has attracted considerable attention for plans to roll out what it contends will be the world's first 10 Gbps Wi-Fi chipset. The 802.11ac chipset will be designed for use in access points for the home, businesses and public spaces.
Quantenna said it has come up with a unique architecture that will enable 802.11ac 8x8 MIMO configurations, delivering not only 10 Gbps of data speed but universal support for MU-MIMO clients. Making more efficient use of the network with the 10 Gbps performance should, in turn, increase network capacity, enabling more client devices to ride on the network.
The chip vendor intends to bond multiple channels in the 5 GHz band to create a 160 MHz wide channel, which is an option in wave 2 of the 802.11ac standard. Existing 802.11ac routers max out at 80 MHz of bandwidth.
However, not all manufacturers are racing to offer the 160 MHz bandwidth enabled by 802.11ac. "There is a good amount of debate" over whether channel bonding to create 160 MHz bandwidth makes sense or where that makes sense, Todd Antes, vice president of product management at Qualcomm Atheros, recently told FierceWirelessTech.
Qualcomm Atheros earlier this month announced chipsets that exploit two other Release 2 optional features: MU-MIMO and a fourth spatial stream. The new chipsets will begin sampling this quarter.
Quantenna, however, already beat Qualcomm to the 4x4 MU-MIMO publicity punch earlier this year, announcing during the 2014 International CES event in Las Vegas that its QSR1000 4x4 MU-MIMO chipset would be used in the ASUS RT-AC87U home router, which will feature 1.7 Gbps data speed. That router is expected to ship this year.
Quantenna said it intends to introduce its 8x8 MIMO-capable Wi-Fi chipsets in 2015.
Meanwhile, Broadcom unveiled its new 5G WiFi XStream platform, which is currently sampling and will be in production this quarter. Broadcom claims the 5G WiFi XStream is up to 50 percent faster than MU-MIMO routers and gateways.
XStream is the first six-stream 802.11ac MIMO platform on the market and delivers data rates up to 3.2 Gbps, according to Broadcom. The chipset is specifically targeted at home networking and video streaming applications.
The 5G WiFi XStream enables six 802.11ac streams and three 802.11n streams to run simultaneously by automatically separating coexisting 802.11n and 802.11ac Wi-Fi devices into distinct frequencies.
- see this Quantenna release
- see this Broadcom release
- see this PC World article
- see this AnandTech article
- see this GigaOM article
- see this VentureBeat article
- see this Wall Street Journal article (sub. req.)
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