Thursday, March 1, 2012

Qualcomm Atheros Chipsets to support the new 802.11ac Wi-Fi Standard - Municipal Wi-Fi Quantum of Solace


Qualcomm, the Telecoms Equiptment maker and chip designer has it sights set firmly on conquering Wireless Broadband specifically in Wi-Fi. This could already be seen from their desire to reuse a huge chunk of 14GHz spectrum to power what is effectively very fast Airplane Wi-Fi as stated in my blog article entitled “Qualcomm to create Airplane Wi-Fi named Next Gen-AG using 500MHz of unused 14GHz spectrum - 300MBps in the Mile High Club”.

Thus this latest development of chips by Qualcomm to support the new Wi-Fi standard IEEE 802.11ac, which made its debut at the CES (Computer Electronics Show) 2012AD came as no surprise to me as stated in the article “Qualcomm chips bring faster Wi-Fi to mobile devices”, published

Qualcomm Atheros' 802.11ac ecosystem to span all wireless networking”, published February 23, 2012 4:09 PM PST by Dong Ngo, CNET News.

These chipsets, which are effectively DSP (Digital Signal Processors) are not only an improvement in speed, but also in energy efficiency, using far less power than their power hungry predecessor that used the IEEE 802.11n protocol that maxed out at 300MBps.

Even more interesting, is that it matches speeds with WiGiG, the much touted Gigabit Wi-Fi protocol that was supposed to compete with WirelessHD and Wireless Home Digital Interface (WHDI) using the 60GHz spectrum as noted in WiGiG group finalizes new wireless standard”, published December 11 2009 by Lance Whitney, CNET News - Blog Network and “Wi-Fi to cultivate speedy 60GHz band”, published May 11, 2010 11:08 AM PDT by Dong Ngo, CNET News - Wireless.

To be specific, the new Qualcomm Atheros Ecosystem has the following main chipsets:
  • 450Mbps single-stream WCN3680 chipset
  • 1.3Gbps three-stream QCA9860 chipsets
  • 900Mbps dual-stream QCA9862 chipsets
  • Three-stream QCA9880 and two-stream QCA9882 which support only 802.11ac/a/b/g/n.
  • Three-stream QCA9890 and two-stream QCA9892 which are designed for Enterprise Network Solution Applications

A few quick pointes on the above chipsets:

  • The 450Mbps single-stream WCN3680 chipset is mainly for mobile devices such a Tablets, Ultrabooks and smartphones
  • The 1.3Gbps three-stream QCA9860 chipsets and the 900Mbps dual-stream QCA9862 chipsets supports powered devices such as HDTV, Media Players and Desktop Computers
  • Support for all previous IEEE 802.11a/b/d/g/f/n/ac protocols as well as Bluetooth and FM Radio
  • Support for Wi-Fi Direct as specified in the article “Wi-Fi Alliance now certifies Wi-Fi Direct products”, published October 25, 2010 5:00 AM PDT by Dong Ngo, CNET News – Wireless.

Thus Qualcomm is solidifying its leadership in Wi-Fi by introducing yet another reason for Telecom Providers to be afraid of Spectrum License “Super” Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) based on Space Frequencies as stated in my blog article entitled “Telecoms and White Spaces - A Man for All Seasons and the Big Bang Theory”. Not only is it going to be faster, but its lower energy consumption means 3D HDTV will now be possible on mobile devices sans Telecoms Providers.

Telecom Providers may be blocking VoIP and IPTV streaming over their 3G and upcoming 4G Networks, but with Wi-Fi standard IEEE 802.11ac no making its debut in device so soon after CES 2012AD, Telecoms Providers have just been made facilitators for Municipal Wi-Fi Networks and Wireless Broadband Networks as noted in my blog article entitled “CLARO, FLOW and Municipal Wi-Fi IEEE 802.11n - Battlestar Galactica” such as Dekal Wireless in Jamaica via smartphones that may support this service, Quantum of Solace (2008) Style.

Even worse, the coming of the faster Wi-Fi standard IEEE 802.11ac may also mean the death of Switched Voice Network both Landline and Mobile phone Voice Calling as per my blog article entitled “Telecom Providers 4G vs Wi-Fi Calling - Galaxy Rangers”, again thanks to these Municipal Wi-Fi Networks.

Wi-Fi Roaming agreements may also be on the horizon for Telecom Providers with superfast 4G LTE based on the technology of Telecoms Equipment Provider Ruckus Wireless as stated in my blog article entitled “Telecom Providers, 4G and Wi-Fi Roaming - Ruckus Wireless and the Firestarter”.

Qualcomm’s inclusion of the faster Wi-Fi standard IEEE 802.11ac effectively puts Municipal Wi-Fi Networks on par with the 4G Telecoms Providers, even here in Jamaica. This despite the coming of HSDPA+ (High Speed Downlink Packet Access) Release 7 Wireless Broadband Networks from BOTH Telecom Provider Digicel and Telecom Provider LIME as noted in my blog article entitled “Digicel to shut down CLARO's Voice Network in HSDPA+ Push - The Louisiana Purchase of Spectrum”.

Even when they ramp up to LTE (Long Term Evolution) with speeds of 100MBps best effort as debated in my blog article entitled “LTE vs WiMax 4G - Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors”, they won’t be as fast and low cost as Municipal Wi-Fi Networks using Qualcomm’s Gear or smartphones sporting chipsets that support the faster Wi-Fi standard IEEE 802.11ac.

Now we must wait and see what will happen when Spectrum License “Super” Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) come to Jamaica after the New Telecommunications Act as well as the New Telecoms Regulator takes effect some time in the fourth Quarter of 2012AD as anticipate in my blog article entitled “Phillip Paulwell broker's Telecom Deal - Telecom Regulator and Mobile Number Portability Coming”.
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