It’s only been a few years since the 802.11ac wireless standard became mainstream and it looks like a new standard is already set to take its place with Qualcomm announcing a new pair of chips that support the new 802.11ax standard.
The new chips, the IPQ8074 system-on-a-chip (SoC) for broadcasters (routers and access points) and the QCA6290 SoC for receivers (Wi-Fi devices), are some of the first components to be part of the first end-to-end commercial Wi-Fi portfolio under the wireless standard.
The IPQ8074, which is designed for access points, gateways, and routers, is expected to deliver up to 4.8 Gbps with its usage of a 12×12 Wi-Fi configuration (8×8 on the 5GHz band and 4×4 on the 2.4GHz band) and support for MU-MIMO for uplink. The new chip will feature an 11ax radio, MAC, and baseband as well as a quad-core 64-bit A52 CPU and a dual-core network accelerator.
As for the QCA6290, which will be used for Wi-Fi devices such as smartphones and network adapters, it features an 8×8 sounding mechanism that supports 2×2 MU-MIMO as well as 8×8 MU-MIMO. It combines 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands with its Dual Band Simultaneous (DBS) feature to deliver up to 1.8Gbps Wi-Fi speeds.
802.11ax chips are not only expected to be up to four times faster than 802.11ac but will require significantly less power. 802.11ax is also designed to be more efficient in crowded air spaces which will mean better real world performance.
According to Qualcomm, it plans to begin testing the new chips during the first part of 2017 which could mean that we can expect devices that are equipped with the new chips to begin showing up sometime near the end of 2017 or early 2018.