New Qualcomm Wi-Fi 6 platforms bring speed to large networks

Wi-Fi 6-enabled Qualcomm Networking Pro Series platforms come in four configurations, but all are intended for use in dense, congested networks like offices and malls.

Qualcomm has released a new line of second-generation Wi-Fi 6 network offerings, intended to improve network and internet connections across a range of applications and devices. The Qualcomm Networking Pro Series consists of four platforms: the 1200, 800, 600 and 400.

Each of Qualcomm's four platforms come with Wi-Fi 6 but vary in format, scale and computing specs. The Qualcomm Networking Pro 1200 Platform supports 12 spatial streams of Wi-Fi 6 connectivity with up to a 2.2 GHz quad-core A53 processor; the 800 with eight streams and 1.4 GHz; the 600 with six streams and 1 GHz processor; and the 400 with four streams and 1 GHz processor.

The Qualcomm Wi-Fi 6-enabled line comes with the following capabilities:

  • 8x8 radio support to expand overall capacity with eight streams of Wi-Fi 6 connectivity in the 5 GHz band
  • Traffic management with multiuse scheduling algorithms to prioritize network access for a large number of connected clients
  • Multiuser, multiple input, multiple output support in the uplink and downlink across up to 12 independent Wi-Fi chains
  • OFDMA support in the uplink and downlink for up to 37 users per each 5 GHz channel
  • Differentiated maximum user networking architecture to associate and connect up to 1,500 clients
  • Support for reconfiguration or wireless resources -- available with the 1200 platform -- enabling customers to design dual- or tri-radio operation without a separate radio component
  • Up to 38% higher raw output with the Wi-Fi 6 modulation scheme, 102 QAM, than with Wi-Fi 5
  • Support for the full WPA3 security suite

Using Qualcomm's Wi-Fi 6 architecture, the networking vendor intends the new platforms to support dense networks, onboarding hundreds of devices and high-performance networking.

As the number of internet-connected devices grows, networks are no longer keeping up with the demand for high bandwidth, low latency and easy access, according to Qualcomm. Statista reports that there are 26.66 billion IoT devices in 2019, compared to 23 billion in 2018. The research forecasts IoT devices will surpass 75 billion by 2025 -- a five-fold increase from 15 billion in 2015.

The Wi-Fi 6 features on the Qualcomm Networking Pro Series intend to serve IoT devices in high-capacity environments like lecture halls, stadiums and office buildings. While the Wi-Fi 6 standard is almost three times faster than Wi-Fi 5 -- 9.6 Gbps versus 3.5 Gbps -- its technology is intended to be split up across an entire network, meaning more potential speed for every connected device rather than a dramatic speed increase for individual devices.

New this year, Wi-Fi 6 support enables the network to communicate with more devices at once and the router to send data to multiple devices, replacing Wi-Fi 5 introduced in 2014.

Broadcom and Intel both offer Wi-Fi chipsets, and Wi-Fi 6 routers have been released by vendors such as Cisco, Asus and TP-Link. The Samsung Galaxy S10 is the first phone with Wi-Fi 6 support, and more devices are likely to follow suit in the coming years. The Qualcomm Networking Pro Series platforms are available now.

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