Qualcomm Technologies Inc. announced on Monday two products supporting 802.11ax, the next-generation standard for Wi-Fi chips. IPQ8074 will be the SoC enterprise option, while the QCA6290 will target consumers.
These new solutions by Qualcomm aim at improving all aspects of wireless connectivity, but mainly network capacity.
The Internet of Things poses a new challenge for routers and infrastructures as the popularity of connected devices rises in the market.
In the case of the IPQ8074, it won’t be available until late 2017. The alternative for end-users won’t come out until next year either, but both chips represent the first offerings compatible with the new standard by an industry giant.
What is 802.11ax and how is it different?
802.11ax is a new standard for Wi-Fi connectivity. Seen as the successor to the current 802.11ac, the wireless platform is still in development and won’t see widespread adoption by manufacturers for a couple of years.
Perhaps the most distinctive feature of the new technology is that it focuses on network capacity without neglecting upgrades to all the other elements of wireless connections.
“CAPACITY – NOT PEAK SPEED – HAS BECOME THE MOST IMPORTANT MEASURE OF A NETWORK’S ABILITY TO HANDLE THE EVER-INCREASING DEMANDS OF TODAY’S DIVERSE MIX OF APPLICATIONS AND SERVICES,” said SVP of Connectivity Rahul Patel.
That does not mean that Qualcomm is leaving peak speed aside, on the contrary. 802.11ax improves on existing network solutions by providing download speeds as fast as 4.8 Gbps, nearly four times faster than the 1.3 Gbps on 802.11ac products.
The way in which 802.11ax achieves this is by being compatible with both 5 GHz and 2.4 GHz bands, and standardizing a user connection protocol known as MU-MIMO.
MU-MIMO stands for Multiple User – Multiple Input Multiple Output. In simple terms, it means routers and infrastructures will be able to serve several devices simultaneously instead of switching between connections like they regularly do.
Some existing 802.11ac routers and chips already support MU-MIMO, but the technology won’t be optional for this next generation of wireless solutions. Implementing this feature will result in more stable networks for more users at all times.
Additionally, new Qualcomm products will support OFDMA, or Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access. Similar to the principle behind MU-MIMO, it allows users to transmit more data by using the 20, 40, 80, and 180 MHz channels at the same time.
Target Wakeup Time (TWT) is another of the new features that make 802.11ac. It gives the chip-bearing router the ability to negotiate with other connected devices when to send and receive data necessary for updates and communications.
New products like the upcoming IPQ8074 and QCA6290 chips will grant the user with significantly enhanced Wi-Fi signals, increased range, and longer lifetime in their routers and devices.