Qualcomm Rolls Out Wi-Fi 6E Lineup

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qualcomm_6e.png
Qualcomm today announced a portfolio of access point and mobile device solutions for the recently-approved 6 GHz Wi-Fi 6E band.

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.

qualcomm_ap_6e.jpg

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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jsz

Regular Contributor
I read another article that suggest that the 6E portion of the early devices is intended/recommend to be used as a backhaul for mesh systems. This actually makes sense to me as I'd imagine consumer products are going to stay in the 5Ghz band initially and or for general range purposes.

Would also make the early AX products not completely obsolete for a few years. For example.. I can't imagine a product line being completely revised by next year when theres essentially two confirmed ASUS models that haven't seen the light of day in western markets. I'd imagine a good 2 year gap before theres a "Wave 2" push for client/router devices.
 

thiggins

Mr. Easy
Staff member
I read another article that suggest that the 6E portion of the early devices is intended/recommend to be used as a backhaul for mesh systems. This actually makes sense to me as I'd imagine consumer products are going to stay in the 5Ghz band initially and or for general range purposes.

Would also make the early AX products not completely obsolete for a few years. For example.. I can't imagine a product line being completely revised by next year when theres essentially two confirmed ASUS models that haven't seen the light of day in western markets. I'd imagine a good 2 year gap before theres a "Wave 2" push for client/router devices.
The Wi-Fi industry is going to push to make the transition to 6E perhaps the fastest in history. Yes, using the 6 GHz band for mesh backhaul lets users get immediate benefit from 6E without any client devices. Plus it lets them push expensive tri-band mesh systems right out of the gate.

That said, the first Wi-Fi 6E phones will appear either concurrently or within a month or two of 6E routers. But since you just bought your 5G phone with only crummy ol' Wi-Fi 6, you'll probably need to wait a bit before spending another $700 or so for a 5G/6E phone.
 

jsz

Regular Contributor
That said, the first Wi-Fi 6E phones will appear either concurrently or within a month or two of 6E routers. But since you just bought your 5G phone with only crummy ol' Wi-Fi 6, you'll probably need to wait a bit before spending another $700 or so for a 5G/6E phone.

I'm just wondering if there will be an actual client oriented tri-band solution rather than a simple wireless backhaul providing better area of effect for typical 5 and 2.4g client channels. There will obviously be purpose built solutions that support 6E, but knowing how practical they'll be is another thing entirely.

We still don't have AX consumers clients that aren't AX200/201 (outside of select phones). I would imagine a good 2 years before theres purpose built desktop/laptop/smart home devices but maybe I'm wrong.
 

thiggins

Mr. Easy
Staff member
I'm just wondering if there will be an actual client oriented tri-band solution
I'm pretty sure there will.

Note that a mesh product that supports 6E devices and uses 6E for dedicated backhaul will require 4 radios. Won't be cheap.
 

Dave Fey

Occasional Visitor
There is just such a large range of added channels available that rolling it out quickly makes sense. I have to wonder if premium phone brands will manage to roll it into products latter half of this year or if clients (phones, streamers, possibly even security devices) may end up a 2021 releases. That said, AX devices won't be dead soon. I'd guess that what you will see is quite a few "dual radio" designs where instead of 2 channels of 5Ghz you could set one to a 5 channel and one to a 6 channel.
But with the method of licensing aren't we likely to face more inteference problems in the 6 ranges?
 

thiggins

Mr. Easy
Staff member
I'd guess that what you will see is quite a few "dual radio" designs where instead of 2 channels of 5Ghz you could set one to a 5 channel and one to a 6 channel.
I expect 6E routers will be tri-band (2.4/5/6). You can't have a shared 5/6 GHz radio due to the "greenfield" in 6 GHz (only AX devices are allowed). If there were only one 5/6 radio, connecting one 6 GHz client would require dropping all non-AX 5 GHz clients.
But with the method of licensing aren't we likely to face more inteference problems in the 6 ranges?
More interference than what?
 

RMerlin

Asuswrt-Merlin dev
Note that a mesh product that supports 6E devices and uses 6E for dedicated backhaul will require 4 radios. Won't be cheap.

That would make Broadcom happy - being able to sell four chips (in addition to the CPU) per router sold. Instant revenue boost!
 

jsz

Regular Contributor
They can always pull an ASUS and use 3 radios. 6E AX WL Backhaul + 5G AX and 2.4G for clients.

AX92U does something similar as an "AC" router when used in conjunction with each other. Would make sense to me for early products, especially if the client push isn't that as quick.
 

Krisbi

Occasional Visitor
Does anyone know pricing information? What do Router vendors pay for those SoCs? What is the price for the 610/810/1210/1610? Do have pricing information for the last generation? How much is the price difference between Qualcomm and e.g. similar Mediatek chipsets?
 

Enthusiast

Occasional Visitor
This standard is approuved by the FCC only for now, so the rest of the world it not availbe for this spectrum.
 

Fatawan

Occasional Visitor
I follow the RF filter companies pretty closely. They are making filters for all scenarios. There will be filters centered at 2.4 GHz, 5.2 GHz, 5.6 GHz, and the 6.5 GHz for 6E. They are also making a filter centered on 5.5 GHz if that is the route chosen vs. the 5.2/5.6 combo.
 

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