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Broadcom Takes The 4x4 Road For 802.11ax

Discussion in 'General Wireless Discussion' started by Julio Urquidi, Aug 17, 2017.

  1. Julio Urquidi

    Julio Urquidi News Editor

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    broadcom-max-wifi.jpg
    Broadcom is taking what it thinks is a more pragmatic approach to getting a slice of the 802.11ax pie.

    The company's Tuesday announcement of its Max WiFi 802.11ax device family unveiled three devices, two built with four stream architectures and one with two streams, instead of the eight stream maximum supported by the upcoming 802.11ax "high efficiency" standard.

    Both Quantenna and Qualcomm have previously announced 802.11ax devices supporting 8 streams in 5 GHz and four in 2.4 GHz.

    The BCM43684 and BCM43694 support four streams of 802.11ax, for use in residential access points and wireless routers and enterprise access points, respectively. Broadcom claims the devices are fully compliant with the draft IEEE 802.11ax standard, which won't be fully-baked until July 2019, if the current schedule holds.

    Among 802.11ax features supported by the devices are 4.8 Gbps maximum link rate, 160 MHz channel bandwidth, 1024 QAM modulation, up and downlink OFDMA and MU-MIMO.

    The third device is the BCM4375 2x2 smartphone combo chip that supports two spatial streams with a maximum 1.429 Gbps link rate. Other features include Bluetooth 5.0, RSDB (real simultaneous dual-band) amd 1024 QAM, OFDMA and MU-MIMO support.

    All devices support downlink 802.11ax MU-MIMO in both 2.4 and 5 GHz, but do not support uplink MU-MIMO.

    Broadcom thinks it has a better approach to 11ax with its 4x4 AP/router chips because they will allow lower cost designs preferred by service providers. The 4x4 approach will also enable "tri-band" 11ax routers with two 5 GHz radios without pushing costs beyond what the consumer market will bear for high-end routers / Wi-Fi Systems, which currently seems to be around $500.

    The company also maintains that a tri-band 11ax product will have "more versatility and higher performance than a true 8x8 11ax solution", citing examples of dedicating a 5 GHz radio to backhaul in multi-node Wi-Fi Systems and using one 5 GHz radio for 11ax "greenfield" and the other for legacy STA support.

    Broadcom is currently sampling Max WiFi with retail, enterprise, smartphone and carrier partners. Complimentary quotes from Aerohive, ASUS, D-Link, New H3C, Microsoft, NETGEAR, Sagecom Broadband, Technicolor and TP-Link were included in Broadcom's announcement.
     
  2. sm00thpapa

    sm00thpapa Very Senior Member

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    Don't hold your breathe with Broadcom.
     
  3. pete y testing

    pete y testing Very Senior Member

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    in the short term i think this is a wise move as its understandable that cost is a factor and uptake of the technology will only happen if the end users can bare the cost , its prob going to be a case of wave 1 802.11ax will be 4 x 4 and when it becomes a standard we will see wave 2 802.11ax with the 8 x 8

    im also guessing going 4 x 4 first will let the client devices catch up first as its useless having 8 x 8 without devices that would work with the same standard , casting the mind back to the days of draft wireless ac and we started with 150M then 300M then 600M etc
     
  4. sm00thpapa

    sm00thpapa Very Senior Member

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    So my guess is these 802.11AX routers will go for $699.99 or more.
     
  5. RMerlin

    RMerlin Super Moderator

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    My guess is despite the fact the standard won't be finalized until 2019, manufacturers will still hit the market with products somewhere in 2018, people will pay 699$ for it despite @thiggins numerous "stop paying to be a betatester" warnings, and SNB forums will be filled with unhappy users.
     
    Hydro, TheLostSwede and sm00thpapa like this.
  6. sm00thpapa

    sm00thpapa Very Senior Member

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    Oh I learned my lesson with the RT-AC88U. I'm not buying anything until Tim's reviews and maybe 6 months after his reviews.
     
  7. TheLostSwede

    TheLostSwede Regular Contributor

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    8x8 is not really intended for consumer devices though, is it? My understanding was that 8x8 802.11ax was meant to be for things like public Wi-Fi access or installations in arenas, malls, convention centres etc. as it would allow for more simultaneous users per AP and with potentially better speeds per user. As such, this moves makes sense. Also 8x8 wouldn't even be legal in a lot of countries, DFS or no DFS, as they simply don't have enough adjacent Wi-Fi channels.
     
  8. sm00thpapa

    sm00thpapa Very Senior Member

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    Only networking enthusiasts would want this in their home. Noobs no need to apply.
     
  9. System Error Message

    System Error Message Part of the Furniture

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    it works well for me, just i dont use gigabit ethernet devices with the 4 extra ports, only 100M devices and LACP to my router. I usually recommend the AC3100 over AC88U if you want to avoid bottlenecks.
     
  10. pege63

    pege63 Very Senior Member

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    I rather see 5 Gbps networking over standard TP Cables over WIFI
     
  11. thiggins

    thiggins Mr. Easy Staff Member

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    8x8 doesn't require more channels. 160 MHz bandwidth does.

    Broadcom is positioning its solution as "fully compliant" with the IEEE 11ax spec and Wi-Fi Alliance certification process. But since both are in draft form at this point, it's a moving target.

    It's important to note one of the key differentiators in 11ax, uplink MU-MIMO will not be supported in BRCM's first devices. Not that it would make a big difference, judging from the 0 to negative effect MU-MIMO has produced on 11ac.

    Reliance on 4x4 is going to make it tough to see any performance advantage for non 11ax devices from upgrading to an 11ax router. The charts clearly show 4x4 routers' advantages over 3x3 and 2x2, which is primarily due to better radios and higher receive gain due to more streams.

    11ax radios will be incrementally better. But it is questionable whether 4x4 11ax will significantly improve range over 4x4 11ac. Only testing will tell.

    I expect to see 11ax sooner than you think...
     
    TheLostSwede likes this.
  12. TheLostSwede

    TheLostSwede Regular Contributor

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    It should start arriving alongside more affordable 10Gbps later this year. Asus has already launched a $99 10Gbps card that can do 5, 2.5 and 1Gbps as well and the rumour is that we'll see cheaper switches before the end of the year, i.e. ~$500 price bracket for 8-ports of 10Gbps.

    The two have quite different usage scenarios though.
     
  13. pege63

    pege63 Very Senior Member

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    Some brands of MB like ASRock allready have 2.5/5 Gbps ports over standard TP-6 Cables
    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2017
  14. Razor512

    Razor512 Senior Member

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    I wish they would stop overcharging for the 10GbE cards. An Ethernet adapter is not like a CPU where they need to recover the R&D within a year as well as turn a profit there is no need to charge $100, when they could probably sell the adapter for $15- $20 and make a smaller profit that will add up over time, especially as 4+ billion people begin to make the switch to 10GbE.
    Other than that, there should 10GbE on all ports on consumer routers.

    This will make iSCSI more useful for basic users, as performance will not be too horrible.

    The same idea should apply to 802.11ax. The real world improvements will likely be fairly small, but if they target an insane $500+ price, it will fail because of greed rather than there being any issues with the technology.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2017
  15. sfx2000

    sfx2000 Part of the Furniture

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    Range is pretty much limited by physics in the RF domain...

    11ax can help with link efficiency (OFDMA vs. OFDM and the scheduled MAC) - question would be how it works with Legacy and mixed mode operation.
     
  16. iwod

    iwod Regular Contributor

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    From the Broadcom announcement, does that mean the Smartphone Chip wont support 160Mhz? Because its PHY Rate for 2x2 seems to be for 80Mhz only.

    I am eagerly waiting for this. If the real world numbers are anywhere near as good as LTE, I think 802.11ax is finally the solution to ditch Wired Connection at home*.

    But isn't UL-MIMO part of the 802.11ax spec? Pretty sure it will make very little difference, but they are now making this optional ? What's next? Taking out Upload Resources Scheduling? They are just making excuses so you will have to upgrade your WiFi solution later again?

    Edit: While i was looking this up i come across this : DensiFi
    Interesting development in 802.11ax Group.
     
  17. iwod

    iwod Regular Contributor

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    I am digging up more information. Unlike Qualcomm, Broadcom doesn't mention whether it support NBase-T as well. Qualcomm explicitly state 10Gbps, ( not Only 5 / 2.5 Gbps ).

    In Feb, both Qualcomm Quantenna announced Chipset support MU-MIMO in upload.

    And it turns out a few months ago H3C has already shipped the first 802.11ax AP.
     
  18. thiggins

    thiggins Mr. Easy Staff Member

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    MU-MIMO uplink is part of 802.11ax, which is still in draft form. But, like 11ac, all features are not implemented in first parts.

    I will check again with Qualcomm and Quantenna. But I think both do not support UL MU-MIMO in first chipsets. Can you provide references to show why you say they do?

    Can you provide a link to the H3C 11ax AP shipment announcement?
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2017
  19. sm00thpapa

    sm00thpapa Very Senior Member

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    They keep trying to increase the speed over wifi but still leaving the wired ports at 1 gig. When are these companies gonna start making routers with 10 gig ports or higher.
     
  20. pege63

    pege63 Very Senior Member

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    Would you be willing to pay lets say 500-700 USD for router then?