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Qualcomm has a new Wi-Fi chip for the next generation of 802.11ax Wi-Fi

By Koh Wanzi - on 22 Feb 2018, 12:30pm

Qualcomm has a new Wi-Fi chip for the next generation of 802.11ax Wi-Fi

Qualcomm has announced a new Wi-Fi chip for smartphones and tablets ahead of MWC 2018. The new chip is compatible with the upcoming 802.11ax standard of Wi-Fi, and will offer improvements such as double the network throughput and reduced power consumption.

802.11ax is expected to start seeing mass adoption only in 2019, but Qualcomm’s chip enables manufacturers to start building new features into their products in the coming months.  

The higher throughput should enable faster and more consistent speeds even in congested networks, while the lower power consumption could improve the battery life on devices.

It employs a mix of old and new technologies to do this, including something called Target Wait Time (TWT) that wakes devices only at set times in order to schedule traffic and reduce congestion. Sleep cycles have also been maximized in order to minimize contention and improve power efficiency.

The Atheros WCN3998, as it’s called, will also be the first to support WPA3 encryption, which protects user passwords and privacy and should make Wi-Fi connectivity more secure.

According to Qualcomm, WPA3 encryption enables more robust security protections even when users set Wi-Fi passwords that don’t meet the common complexity recommendations. This allows easier setup of IoT devices, and also stronger data privacy protections on open networks thanks to individual user encryption.

Of course, the new chip will still work with older versions of Wi-Fi, so you’ll have no problems connecting to your home Wi-Fi or a public network. In fact, speeds could be improved when connected to an existing 802.11ac Wave 2 router. In addition, it provides Bluetooth functionality with support for the new 5.1 standard.

Furthermore, when paired with another device, such as a headset, using the QCC5100 Low Power Bluetooth SoC announced at CES 2018, Qualcomm says you should enjoy an improved Bluetooth experience with better audio quality and battery life.

The company calls this technology TrueWireless Stereo, and it comes with user experience improvements such as simpler pairing and lower latencies.

The Atheros WCN3998 is expected to begin sampling to customers in Q2 2018.

Source: Qualcomm

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