Qualcomm on Tuesday announced a new range of Wi-Fi chips designed to work with Wi-Fi 6, the newest version of the technology and one that Qualcomm hopes will help boost sales of its separate 5G chips.
The San Diego-based tech company has been pushing instead into chips for automobiles, headphones, laptops and other devices. Its Wi-Fi chips are found in devices such as the “mesh” Wi-Fi routers made by Google and designed to help provide better coverage over an entire household.
Separately, Qualcomm is also working with phonemakers such as Samsung Electronics Co Ltd to bring chips for 5G, the next generation of wireless data networks, to phones.
With the new series of Wi-Fi chips, Qualcomm is hoping its two lines of business will one day come together. Both Wi-Fi 6, a new standard expected to fully roll out by 2022, and 5G technology differ from their predecessors in that they are designed to work more closely together, allowing Wi-Fi routers to more seamlessly hand off connections with mobile phones and other devices that use both kinds of networks.
Qualcomm detailed Wi-Fi 6 momentum across crucial multiple product segments, including mobile, compute, and auto.
Qualcomm says it has seen strong Wi-Fi 6 momentum across its flagship Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 and 855+ Mobile Platform designs. Qualcomm FastConnect 6200 Subsystem, with its complement of critical Wi-Fi 6 features, is attached to almost all of 225+ Snapdragon 855 and 855+ designs, including nearly all 5G designs.
FastConnect is the name of Qualcomm Technologies’ integrated connectivity subsystem spanning Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and other non-cellular connectivity technologies within the Snapdragon Mobile and Compute Platforms. In addition to core connectivity capability, the FastConnect subsystem delivers a host of features that aims to set new industry benchmarks for faster connections at longer range, smoother video streaming, powerful gaming experiences, premium audio performance, and the highest level of Wi-Fi security commercially available.
Also at today's Qualcomm Wi-Fi 6 Day, the company announced support for Uplink MU-MIMO (Multi-User Multi-In Multi-Out) for its upcoming next-generation Wi-Fi 6 Qualcomm FastConnect 6800 Subsystem.
The Qualcomm Automotive Wi-Fi 6 chip, the QCA6696, brings the next generation of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity to the automotive industry. Complementing the Qualcomm Snapdragon Automotive 4G and 5G Platforms, the QCA6696 is Qualcomm Technologies’ most advanced Wi-Fi solution offering Wi-Fi connectivity to meet consumer demands for robustness and reduced latency when operating in congested and dense environments in a moving automobile. The QCA6696 features dual Wi-Fi 6 multiple-input multiple output (MIMO) access points designed to support Gigabit in-car hotspot and to deliver efficient Wi-Fi connectivity throughout the vehicle, supporting ultra-high definition (ultra-HD) video streaming on multiple displays, screen mirroring from compatible devices and wireless back-up cameras, as well as Bluetooth 5.1 support and Qualcomm aptX Adaptive audio to deliver high fidelity voice and streaming audio support. The QCA6696 chip is now sampling and is expected to appear in commercial vehicles in 2021.
Qualcomm also announced the Networking Pro Series, comprised of four platforms, the 1200, 800, 600, and 400, distinguished by format, scale of application, and computing needs.
The Qualcomm Networking Pro Series platforms are built for the dense connectivity requirements of modern Wi-Fi networks, with Wi-Fi 6 features offering increased network capacity for high-density environments such as university lecture halls, malls, stadiums, and office buildings.
The Qualcomm Networking Pro Series spans four tiered platforms:
- Qualcomm Networking Pro 1200 Platform (supports up to 12 spatial streams of Wi-Fi 6 connectivity with up to 2.2GHz Quad-core A53 processor)
- Qualcomm Networking Pro 800 Platform (supports up to 8 spatial streams of Wi-Fi 6 connectivity with up to 1.4GHz Quad-core A53 processor)
- Qualcomm Networking Pro 600 Platform (supports up to 6 spatial streams of Wi-Fi 6 connectivity with up to 1.0GHz Quad-core A53 processor)
- Qualcomm Networking Pro 400 Platform (supports up to 4 spatial streams of Wi-Fi 6 connectivity with up to 1.0GHz Quad-core A53 processor)
The latforms bring a portfolio of features that go far beyond the standards to deliver performance outcomes:
- 8x8 radio support – Qualcomm Networking Pro Series platforms expand overall available capacity by offering up to 12 full streams of Wi-Fi 6 connectivity (in the 1200 tier), including 8 streams of Wi-Fi 6 connectivity in the 5GHz band.
- Qualcomm Technologies’ multi-use scheduling algorithms represent a distinctly differentiated form of traffic management for Wi-Fi. Through its advanced implementation of Wi-Fi 6 protocol standards, networks built on Qualcomm Networking Pro Series platforms can set a new benchmark for prioritizing network access for large numbers of connected clients:
- MU-MIMO: Qualcomm Networking Pro Series platforms support MU-MIMO in the uplink and downlink across all bands, ensuring maximum capacity (up to 12 independent chains of Wi-Fi to simultaneously connect MU-MIMO capable clients).
- OFDMA: Qualcomm Networking Pro Series platforms support OFDMA in the uplink and downlink across all bands with up to support for 37 users per 5GHz channel used.
- Qualcomm Networking Pro Series platforms employ Qualcomm Technologies’ maximum user networking architecture. This network architecture has been designed to associate and maintain connectivity for up to 1500 clients simultaneously.
- The Qualcomm Networking Pro 1200 platform supports unique reconfiguration or wireless resources. Qualcomm's customers can design for either dual- or tri-radio operation (8x8 + 4x4 or 4x4 + 4x4 + 4x4) without the need to add a separate radio component.
- Qualcomm Networking Pro Series platforms support the Wi-Fi 6 modulation scheme, 1024QAM, enabling up to 38% higher raw throughput vs. Wi-Fi 5.
Security: Qualcomm Technologies’ security implementation translates to support for the full WPA3 security suite (Personal, Enterprise, Opportunistic Wireless Encryption, Easy Connect).
Qualcomm Networking Pro Series platforms are currently available.