Here’s why your next phone will have superfast Wi-Fi
Qualcomm has unveiled its first ever Wi-Fi 6E chips, in a move that could propel the new wireless standard into the mainstream.
The firm announced Wi-Fi 6E chips for both mobile phones (set to land in H2 2020) and wireless routers (which are already available to purchase).
The new chips will allow devices to capitalize on the rapid speeds and lower latency on offer with Wi-Fi 6E, which utilizes the high-level 6Ghz spectrum.
Wi-Fi 6E chipsWi-Fi 6 refers to a generational shift in wireless communications – often viewed as complementary to 5G – offering greater speeds, enhanced capacity and lower latency. Wi-Fi 6E, meanwhile, builds upon the capabilities of Wi-Fi 6 through the use of high-level spectrum, with tests already achieving consistent two-millisecond low latency.
Qualcomm’s new Wi-Fi 6E phone chips take the form of the FastConnect 6700 and 6900, which boast maximum speeds of up to 3Gbps and 3.6Gbps respectively in a controlled laboratory setting.
The company has already released its top-end Snapdragon chips this year, which use FastConnect 6800 and therefore do not support Wi-Fi 6E. It’s possible, then, that 6GHz support won’t arrive in flagship smartphones until the release of the next generation of Snapdragon chips.
However, Qualcomm VP of Technology, VK Jones, is bullish about the Wi-Fi 6E timeline. “My personal expectation is this is going to be a very fast transition, “ he said. “[Especially in high-end smartphones,] this is going to be added very quickly.”
The firm also unveiled four Wi-Fi 6E-compatible router chips, designed primarily for mesh networking use cases: the Networking Pro 610, 810, 1210 and 1610. The top-of-the-range chip offers 16 Wi-Fi streams and theoretical speeds of up to 10.8Gbps.
While the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has now approved the use of 6GHz spectrum for unlicensed use cases, other major regions – including Europe – are yet to give Wi-Fi 6E the stamp of regulatory approval.
However, the arrival of Qualcomm’s new chips could hint at the imminent collapse of these regulatory barriers.