Chipsets that integrate the next generation 802.11ac wireless standard and Bluetooth 4.0 are being demonstrated by Qualcomm Atheros at the Computex show in Taipei this week.
Wi-Fi Alliance is expected to begin its 802.11ac certification program in the first quarter of 2013. The forthcoming 802.11ac standard operates in the 5 GHz band.
For tablets and notebook computers, Qualcomm Atheros' 802.11ac offers more than three times the Wi-Fi performance of 802.11n per stream and is capable of delivering up to 1.3 Gbps PHY rates with the company's 3-stream solutions. The new solutions also feature Bluetooth 4.0 with low-power mode for connecting mobile computers to wireless keyboards, headsets, speakers, printers and other peripherals while also conserving battery power.
For tablets, the WCN3680 mobile 802.11ac solution features integrated Bluetooth 4.0 and FM capabilities. The WCN3680 supports 433 Mbps maximum PHY rates, with end-user throughput up to 200 Mbps for tablets based on Windows 8, Windows RT, Android and other Linux-based operating systems.
For notebooks, the QCA9862 and QCA9860 are 2- and 3-stream, dual-band 802.11ac solutions with integrated Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity. The PCIe-based designs support up to 1.3 Gbps (3-stream) or 867 Mbps (2-stream) PHY rates for notebooks operating on Windows and Linux-based operating systems. In addition, Qualcomm Atheros' enhanced Fast Channel Switch (FCS) feature maximizes concurrent throughput and performance with access points and peer-to-peer connections.
All of Qualcomm Atheros' 802.11ac solutions - from mobile to networking designs - are optimized to address the processing demands of 802.11ac. Their architecture features hardware acceleration to offload Wi-Fi processing from the host CPU.
The company is sampling its WCN3680 and QCA986x products now.
Qualcomm Atheros also launched a new QCA9005AP 802.11ac reference design for wireless routers, gateways and enterprise access points. The new reference platform features the QCA9558 dual-band, 3-stream 802.11n system-on-chip (SoC), the QCA9880 3-stream 802.11ac radio solution, and the AR8327 Gigabit Ethernet switch.
By pairing the QCA9880 802.11ac radio with the QCA9558 802.11n SoC, networking OEMs can build more cost-effective and power-efficient 802.11ac-enabled products that are capable of aggregate PHY rates of up to 1.7 Gbps.
Qualcomm Atheros' new QCA9005AP platform also ensures backward compatibility with virtually all legacy Wi-Fi devices in the home by offering dual-band connectivity in both the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands.
The new 802.11ac solutions are expected to ship in volume the second half of 2012.