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Qualcomm Atheros announces its first 802.11ac Wi-Fi solutions

The 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard was unveiled at CES and first out the gate with hardware solutions was Broadcom. Now Qualcomm Atheros is getting ready to join the 802.11ac standard with no less than six new products targeting four different market segments.

The 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard was unveiled at CES and first out the gate with hardware solutions was Broadcom. Now Qualcomm Atheros is getting ready to join the 802.11ac standard with no less than six new products targeting four different market segments.

First up is the WCN3680 which is targeting mobile applications and it's of course compatible with Qualcomm's own Snapdragon SoCs, specifically the new S4 models. The WCN3680 is a 1×1 802.11ac combo chip which should be backwards compatible with older Wi-Fi standards and it also sports Bluetooth and FM radios. Being a 1×1 802.11ac device it tops out at speeds of 433Mbps, the same as Broadcom's BCM43516 which targets the same market space.

The next two products are the QCA9860 and QCA9862, where the QCA9860 delivers three streams and the QCA9862 two streams for speeds of up to 1.3Gbps. Both models are backwards compatible with older Wi-Fi standards and also offer supports for Bluetooth 4.0. Qualcomm is targeting these two models towards consumer electronics and various computing environments, such as notebooks and tablets. Additional features for the WCN3680 and the QCA9860 and QCA9682 includes support for Wi-Fi Direct and Wi-Fi Display.

Qualcomm also has two solutions for home networking, although in this case we're talking about devices such as routers and access points. The two models here are the QCA9880 and QCA9882 and just as with the previous two models we're looking at 3×3 and 2×2 MIMO configurations. The good news here is that both models supports dual-concurrent dual-band operation, i.e. both 802.11ac at 5GHz and 802.11n at 2.4GHz will be operational simultaneously.  

The last two models are for the enterprise market and here Qualcomm has added “enhanced in-building location and spectral sensing capabilities”. Beyond that we're looking at fairly similar products to the previous two, but the model names have changed to QCA9890 and QCA9892.

Qualcomm is set to demo its products at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next week and the company will start to sample its partners next quarter. The only bad news is that this means that we're unlikely to see a lot of 802.11ac products this year.

Source: Qualcomm Atheros

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