1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
Dismiss Notice

Welcome To SNBForums

SNBForums is a community for anyone who wants to learn about or discuss the latest in wireless routers, network storage and the ins and outs of building and maintaining a small network.

If you'd like to post a question, simply register and have at it!

While you're at it, please check out SmallNetBuilder for product reviews and our famous Router Charts, Ranker and plenty more!

Qualcomm Rolls Out Its Tri-radio AC Platform

Discussion in 'General Wireless Discussion' started by Julio Urquidi, May 31, 2016.

  1. Julio Urquidi

    Julio Urquidi News Editor

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2016
    Messages:
    315
    If you've been wondering whether Qualcomm would let Broadcom have the market for tri-radio routers all to itself, you now have the answer. Today at Computex 2016, the company announced its tri-radio 802.11ac platform.
    [​IMG]

    Both are built around Qualcomm’s IPQ40x9 802.11ac SoC, introduced last October, which supplies a 2x2 2.4 GHz radio and one 2x2 5 GHz radio. The second 5 GHz radio can be added via PCIe, using either the 2x2 QCA9886 or 4x4 QCA9884.

    Qualcomm's new platform should enable lower cost tri-radio designs than Broadcom's platform, which requires an external PCIe switch to add another port to the aging BCM4709 processor to support the third radio and has all radios as separate devices. But Qualcomm's platform requires the IPQ40x9 SoC to perform processing duties for the third radio, while each radio in Broadcom's solution has its own CPU. It also limits two of the radios to 2x2, while Broadcom's solution handles three or four stream devices for all radios.

    The announcement makes no mention of an equivalent to Broadcom's "Smart Connect" automatic band-steering and load balancing technology. Instead, it implies a simpler design where the 2.4 GHz radio will be used to support older legacy wireless products and one of the 5 GHz radios can be used as a dedicated range extender or mesh wireless link. This could better position Qualcomm's platform as a more logical choice for the upcoming generation of multi-AP "mesh" architectures, like those from eero and Luma and newer entrants from Ignition Design Labs and Securify.

    The new platforms support both MU-MIMO and Wi-Fi SON (Self-Organizing Networks), its technology for creating self-configuring and self-managed Wi-Fi networks, announced in January. Qualcomm also announced that Wi-Fi SON now supports its HomePlug AV2 powerline solutions, providing even more options for creating multi-AP networks.

    The new devices are sampling now. Amped Wireless may be first to market with its ARTEMIS 2x2 MU-MIMO router that is using an IPQ4018. Qualcomm's announcement also contained quotes from ASUS, Linksys and TP-LINK.
     
    microchip likes this.
  2. microchip

    microchip Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2014
    Messages:
    477
    Location:
    Belgium
    Finally someone to stand up against Broadcom...
     
  3. thiggins

    thiggins Mr. Easy Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 18, 2008
    Messages:
    13,602
    QCA is doing pretty well kicking BRCM's butt in MU-MIMO right now.
     
  4. paraplu

    paraplu Regular Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2014
    Messages:
    124
    BRCM chips are (still) included in most client devices (read: Apple/Samsung) and if that doesn't change QCA has little future. Maybe some future standardization could help but it's a standoff right now.
     
  5. sfx2000

    sfx2000 Part of the Furniture

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2011
    Messages:
    13,491
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    Interesting that they're using Quad Cortex-A7's vs. perhaps either Krait or Kyro as the main CPU...

    (other than the A7 is positively tiny on the overall die, less than 4 square mm each @ 28nm geometry)
     
  6. RMerlin

    RMerlin Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2012
    Messages:
    28,270
    Location:
    Canada
    Qualcomm is used in a fairly good number of routers and smartphones. They have a pretty good market share, I wouldn't worry about them.

    Their current router SoC also seem to be ahead of BCM in terms of design and performance, especially at the CPU level.
     
  7. sfx2000

    sfx2000 Part of the Furniture

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2011
    Messages:
    13,491
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    QCOM has always had a very strong position in WAN chipsets...

    ATH was a consistently strong player in a tight field with WiFi and Switches...

    Two good things put together - one plus one equals three here - just took some time to get to market..

    This all happened right at the start of 802.11ac Wave 1 - we're now starting to see what happens after that's all sorted...

    No wonder Broadcom/Avago is considering leaving the market...
     
  8. sfx2000

    sfx2000 Part of the Furniture

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2011
    Messages:
    13,491
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    That's staring to become less and less as QCOM integrates more and more into the SoC/App Processor to save power.... not just for bluetooth, but also for WiFi...
     
  9. sfx2000

    sfx2000 Part of the Furniture

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2011
    Messages:
    13,491
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    BRCM took the low-hanging fruit and won the Wave 1 game... and tried to extend it with their "X-Stream" thing - to some success

    QCOM took the longer view - tossed out an 11ac Wave 1 chipset or two - but focused on the longer game with Wave 2...

    That is why Qualcomm is ahead at the moment, and Broadcom is trying hard to catch up...

    Broadcom can either step it up, or walk away... but don't forget for a minute that Qualcomm is pretty hard core when they throw their weight into a market segment.

    We see the results now...
     
  10. RMerlin

    RMerlin Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2012
    Messages:
    28,270
    Location:
    Canada
    For some reason, Broadcom reminds me a lot of the Motorola of old, back to its M68K days.