New Around Here
The announcements describe two mobile device and four access point / router solutions providing a range of solutions for 6E smartphones, routers and APs, the first of which are expected to start shipping before the end of this year.
The new members of the Networking Pro family are all tri-band devices containing separate 2.4, 5 and 6 GHz radios, with embedded quad-core Cortex-A53 Arm processors. The family ranges from the entry-level 610 sporting three dual-stream radios (2.4, 5, 6 GHz) or two-stream dual-band (2.4/5 GHz) and one 4 stream 6 GHz radios, to the top-of-line 1610 with four stream 2.4 and 6 GHz and 8 stream 5 GHz radios. All devices support up to 160 MHz channel bandwidth in 6 GHz.
The companion FastConnect 6900 and 6700 mobile SoCs are both dual-stream, tri-band devices supporting 160 MHz channel bandwidth in the 5 and 6 GHz bands with integrated Bluetooth 5.2 radios. The 6900 supports connections on two radios simultaneously, a feature it shares with its FastConnect 6800 Wi-Fi 6 sibling. Applications for the "Dual Band Simultaneous (DBS)" include gaming and screen mirroring, among others.
In an unusual step, Qualcomm has decided to endow all its 6E devices with support for 4096 QAM ("4K QAM") modulation, which is not part of the 802.11ax standard. The is a move borrowed from the Broadcom playbook and may be of little practical benefit, aside from pumping up maximum link rate specs. Rest assured that all the "Peak speed" numbers you see in the graphic above add up all three radios and include 4k QAM rates.
802.11ax' maximum MCS11 rate depends on using 1024 QAM and is usually achievable only with very high signal rates, typically experienced only in-room, if at all. In the pre-announcement briefing Qualcomm said they had done engineering on 4K QAM to make it accessible over longer ranges (meters vs. inches).
Turning to things that are part of 802.11ax, all the new FastConnect and Networking Pro 6E devices support uplink and downlink OFDMA, uplink and downlink MU-MIMO and WPA3 Personal and Enterprise security. Also baked into the mix is support for Target Wake Time (TWT) for the FastConnect devices and transmit beamforming, uplink scheduling and Qualcomm's Wi-Fi SON mesh technology for the Networking Pros.
The announcements included nice things to say from Aruba, NETGEAR and Ruckus about the Networking Pro products and from ASUS (phone business unit), LG OPPO Research, OnePlus and Xiaomi about the FastConnects.
Everything is sampling now with the FastConnect 6900 and 6700 "ship(ping) in production during the
second half of 2020" and "commercial availability expected this year" for the Networking Pro devices.
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