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Qualcomm set to boost public WiFi speeds with 802.11ac and MU-MIMO

Will offer two to three times more network capacity
Mon Apr 07 2014, 11:53
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CHIP DESIGNER Qualcomm will attempt to improve public WiFi speeds with technology rather confusingly named multi-user, multiple-input and multiple-output (MU-MIMO).

Qualcomm said that MU-MIMO is the first Vive 4-stream 802.11ac technology and will aid the "growing number of connected devices in homes, offices and public hotspots".

"Enhanced with Qualcomm Atheros' innovative algorithm-based technology, the new solutions offer two to three times more network capacity and are designed to optimise the way Wi-Fi devices are served to make the most of that additional capacity," Qualcomm claimed.

MU-MIMO works by enabling simultaneous transmission to groups of clients, making better use of available WiFi network capacity and speeding up transmissions.

"With standard WiFi, clients are served sequentially; during this time, only one device is sending and receiving information, thus only a small portion of network capacity is being used. The accumulation of these sequential events creates a drop in throughput and capacity as more devices join the network," Qualcomm explained, adding that this situation has been getting worse due to the growing demand for high resolution video content.

MU-MIMO aims to combat this problem with MU-MIMO precision algorithm technology that, along with technologies like Qualcomm's internet processor and Streamboost, claims to maximize WiFi performance for all connected devices while maintaining better connections in complex multi-user networks.

MU-MIMO must be used on both sides of the connection in order to work to its full potential, Qualcomm said.

"To accelerate the benefits of MU-MIMO for more WiFi users, Qualcomm Atheros is providing a complete ecosystem of solutions for networking products, as well as smartphones, tablets, computers, consumer electronics and automobiles."

The chip designer is launching the QCA9980 and QCA9982 for routers and gateways, and the QCA9990 and QCA9992 for enterprise access points, three-stream and four-stream single chips that feature MU-MIMO, 256-QAM modulation and explicit and implicit beamforming to meet carrier and enterprise requirements.

The QCA998x and QCA999x are expected to sample in the second quarter of 2014, Qualcomm said.

Qualcomm also announced the QCA6174, a technology that is designed for tablets and high-end smartphones and combines two-stream 802.11ac with Bluetooth 4.1 to provide 600 Mbps throughput for more demanding media downloads and streaming over WiFi.

The firm also touted its QCA9378, Qualcomm Atheros' new two-stream Vive products for connected TVs and set-top boxes, which is designed to support 4k video, gaming, audio and other latency sensitive media applications.

MU-MIMO is built into all of Qualcomm Atheros' latest 802.11ac client products, and is supported on the Snapdragon 805 and Snapdragon 801 mobile processors, Qualcomm added. µ


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