Qualcomm Outs Wi-Fi 802.11ax-capable QCA6290 Chip

Qualcomm Logo 2016 AH 1

Qualcomm has revealed a new mobile computing chipset called QCA6290 that not only boasts Wi-Fi 802.11ax capabilities, but is also aimed at tablets, laptops, and smartphones, meaning that we may be looking at the company’s first dedicated unified platform. It also seems to be the first client-side chipset out there to support the emerging 802.11ax standard, which is expected to be finalized for commercialization in the near future. Qualcomm has not revealed how powerful this chipset may be, if it is indeed an independent SoC, or system-on-a-chip, what products it could find itself integrated in, or how its cellular performance is, but they did reveal that is has a peak Wi-Fi speed of about 1.775 gigabits per second.

The new chipset’s feature list does not end at support for 802.11ax and a high peak speed. It also supports MU-MIMO, allowing it to take maximum advantage of even the most crowded networks. The MIMO arrangement for this chip is 2×2. It uses 20, 40, and 80 megahertz channels for primary communication, and supports Wi-Fi connections in the 2.4 gigahertz and 5 gigahertz frequency bands. It also boasts dual-band simultaneous function, 8×8 sounding, and a target wake up time feature. All signs point to this chipset being one of the more high-end numbers from Qualcomm. It supports a standard that is not yet finalized, but is also knocked down a peg or two by peak theoretical speeds far exceeded by the likes of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835, the chip that is earmarked to power the Samsung Galaxy S8.

Alongside the new chip for phones, tablets, and laptops, Qualcomm announced a another 802.11ax-compliant piece of equipment. This one, dubbed the IPQ8074, is a chip aimed at routers that boasts most of the features of the QCA6290. This one is a quad-core, 14-nanometer chip destined for routers. It promises peak theoretical client speeds of up to 4.8 gigabits per second by utilizing up to twelve different streams simultaneously, with eight of those streams on the 5 gigahertz channel and four of them on the 2.4 gigahertz channel. The 802.11ax standard targeted by these two new chips offers better speeds, more power efficiency, better signal, and more capacity, compared to the 802.11ac standard that it will likely replace in a few years.