For the technically oriented, 802.11AX is the next-generation Wi-Fi standard. It focuses on expanding network capacity and making better use of the Wi-Fi spectrum to maintain connectivity in complex environments.
The growing number of connected devices, diversity of traffic, and density of overlapping networks currently overloads Wi-Fi spectrum and threatens the quality of connected experiences. To address this, Qualcomm Technologies' 802.11AX solutions support 12-streams (eight 5GHz and four 2.4GHz), 8x8 MU-MIMO, 80 MHz channels and other features to maximise capacity and coverage.
It also features proven cellular techniques, such as Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA) and traffic scheduling, which is designed to provide greater efficiency, higher user throughput, and a more consistent performance.
But with all advances comes the need to be backward compatible too. Benefits will be greatest for AX-based devices but it will also improve the performance of devices using the previous 802.11AC, AD and N technologies.
Rahul Patel, senior vice-president, and general manager, connectivity, Qualcomm Technologies, said, “Capacity — not peak speed — has become the most important measure of a network's ability to handle the ever-increasing demands of today's diverse mix of application and services. We were the first to commercialise capacity utilisation-focused solutions, such as MU-MIMO, Wi-Fi SON and 802.11AD, and are now on the front lines of 11AX innovation that will propel the Wi-Fi industry into the next phase of high-capacity, high-efficiency networks.
Anand Oswal, senior vice-president, enterprise networking group, Cisco, said, “Wi-Fi is now an essential element of every corporate, education, service provider and public network. IT executives are reporting their biggest challenges are capacity and scalability, given the enormous growth of users. As industry leaders, we are driving innovations that address our customers concerns, and we view 802.11AX as the culmination of key advancements that will cement the future of enterprise mobility."
Qualcomm has designed a highly integrated IPQ8074 System on a Chip (SoC) and a client device QCA6290.
The IPQ8074 is a highly-integrated SoC designed to deliver maximum capacity, range, and performance for the next generation of enterprise access points, carrier gateways and consumer routers.
- Up to 4x capacity to maximise network performance compared to 802.11AC solutions: It utilises a 12x12 configuration, uplink, and downlink MU-MIMO, and supports eight 80 MHz streams, the IPQ8074 quadruples capacity, delivers up to 4.8 Gbps, and maintains fast connections over larger coverage areas.
- Smart features for connectivity: In addition to Qualcomm Wi-Fi Self-Organising Network, which simplifies installation, optimises traffic, and reduces dead spots, the IPQ8074 offers features to reduce harmful interference in dense areas with many overlapping Wi-Fi access points.
- All-in-one platform: Integrates an 11AX radio, MAC, and baseband, plus a quad-core 64-bit A53 CPU and dual-core network accelerator to provide a fully offloaded 11ax subsystem. The 14nm design provides power and size advantages, while a wide range of external WAN and media interfaces allows customers to build a full portfolio of 802.11AX products.
QCA6290 key features
- The QCA6290 is a state-of-the-art 802.11ax client device SoC for homes, enterprises, public venues and other high-traffic areas, and automobiles.
- Up to 4x increase in user throughput in crowded networks: Supports 2x2 MU-MIMO and realises the full benefits of the 8x8 MU-MIMO by supporting the advanced 8x8 sounding mechanism.
- Ultra-fast Gigabit speed for richer user experiences: Offers up to 1.8 Gbps peak speeds through Dual Band Simultaneous (DBS) combining 2.4 and 5 GHz bands, and higher order modulation (1024 QAM).
- Reduces power consumption by 66% through Qualcomm Technologies' specific optimisations, in addition to the support for the 802.11ax standard power save features.
"We are excited about the potential impact that 802.11ax will have in the home and small businesses," said David Henry, senior vice-president, home networking, NETGEAR. "802.11AX is not an incremental upgrade to keep pace with today's demands. The technology will reset the bar for what matters most in networking, and will lay the foundation of network capacity for years to come."