Chip maker Qualcomm has announced the launch of the 'first-to-market' Wi-Fi radio chips offering up-to-10-gigabit-class Wi-Fi connectivity using the 60GHz spectrum, based on millimetre wave (mmWave) technology.
Designed, Qualcomm claims, to sit alongside next-generation 5G New Radio cellular connectivity, the QCA64x8 and QCA64x1 are based on mmWave technology using the 60GHz spectrum with optimisations based on the 802.11ay standard - with Qualcomm using the traditional number-and-letter versioning, it must be noted, rather than the Wi-Fi Alliance's new number-only generational versioning system. The key feature of the new parts: support for up to 10 gigabit per second (10Gb/s) throughput.
'mmWave holds enormous potential to support a new class of user experiences, and Qualcomm Technologies is leading the charge with both its Qualcomm Snapdragon X50 5G NR [New Radio] modem family and unlicensed 60GHz Wi-Fi mmWave solution,' crows Rahul Patel, senior vice president and general manager for connectivity and networking at Qualcomm Technologies, of his company's latest creation. 'Our 11ay solutions were developed with the flexibility to support a broad ecosystem of smartphone, router or fixed wireless access platforms and provides the industry with the critical building blocks needed to take connectivity performance to the next level.'
The move away from the traditional 2.4GHz and 5GHz spectra, Qualcomm claims, allows for 60GHz-based mmWave to offer increased capacity, reduced interference, considerably lowered latency - including lag-free 4K streaming and virtual reality applications - while also adding functionality including 'always-on ambient Wi-Fi sensing capabilities', which the company claims will enable devices featuring the parts to identify people, objects, movements, and its own precise location without consideration to ambient light conditions.
While Qualcomm has confirmed the two part families, aimed at fixed base stations and mobile devices, are available now, the company has not offered a timescale for when they will be available at a consumer level - though it has named Asus as a customer for its existing 60GHz portfolio, suggesting that the company may switch over to the new parts in the near future.