Quantenna promises 10Gb/s Wi-Fi in 2015
April 15, 2014 // 11:16 a.m.
Wireless communications specialist Quantenna has announced the development of a Wi-Fi chipset capable of ten gigabit per second (10Gb/s) throughput, with plans to release it commercially next year.
Perhaps the biggest complaint regarding Wi-Fi - aside from alleged health implications, disproved by scientific rigour - is that its performance can lag behind that of a wired connection. Even if you're right next to an access point, the actual throughput of a 1.3Gb/s 802.11n Wi-Fi link is usually well below that of a 1Gb/s wired Ethernet connection - and the further away you travel from the access point, the slower it gets. Said bandwidth is also shared between all users; if you're on a heavily-congested access point, you can expect the performance of your connection to drop significantly.
Quantenna is hoping to resolve this problem by giving wireless connections significantly more headroom, starting with a 10Gb/s chipset based on the 802.11ac standard which improves support for Multi-User Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (MU-MIMO) connectivity. Extending the existing MIMO technology, which uses multiple antennas to isolate signals and reject noise, MU-MIMO allows for multiple connections to individual client devices which are no longer competing for the same bandwidth. The result: significantly improved performance and reliability.
'Quantenna’s 8x8 architecture with adaptive beamforming demonstrates that the ‘massive MIMO’ promise of significantly higher throughput, robustness, and reduced interference can be realised in practice,' claimed Andrea Goldsmith, Stephen Harris Professor of Electrical Engineering at Stanford University, in support of the company's work. 'This architecture will also significantly enhance the capabilities of MU-MIMO, allowing it to support interference-free transmission to many more devices simultaneously. These technology advances will transform the landscape of applications and devices that Wi-Fi can support.'
Quantenna's MU-MIMO chipset is already used in Asus' latest Wi-Fi router, but the version due for release in 2015 will be considerably improved. 'Wi-Fi is no longer a convenience,' claimed Quantenna chief executive Sam Heidari at the announcement. 'People expect it to ‘just work’ even with demanding applications like HD video streaming. With Quantenna’s 10G Wi-Fi, they’ll always get the performance they expect—even as their expectations continue to rise.'
The company's existing chipset, which supports 4x4 MU-MIMO antenna configurations, will be extended in 2015 to support 8x8 MU-MIMO setups offering a total aggregate throughput of 10Gb/s. How much such a feature will add on to the cost of commercially available routers and access points that choose to implement it, however, has not been announced.