Qualcomm demos next-gen 802.11ac Wi-Fi in Taipei

The company's chipsets for the super fast techology will start shipping in large volumes during the second half of 2012

Chipsets that integrate the upcoming 802.11ac wireless standard and Bluetooth 4.0 are being demonstrated by Qualcomm Atheros at the Computex show in Taipei this week.

Qualcomm claims to be first out of the gate with the chipsets, intended for use in tablets and notebook computers.

The first products that support the new wireless standard, which vendors say will offer up to gigabit speeds, are expected to arrive this year. The Wi-Fi Alliance will begin its certification program in the first quarter of 2013, according to Qualcomm.

For 802.11ac, Qualcomm is developing chipsets that sends information using one, two or three data streams. More streams mean more bandwidth.

For tablets, the WCN3680 chipset features integrated Bluetooth 4.0, FM radio and 802.11ac with end-user throughput up to 200 Mbps for tablets based on Windows 8, Android and other Linux-based operating systems, according to Qualcomm.

For notebooks, the QCA9862 and QCA9860 are two- and three-stream 802.11ac chipsets with integrated Bluetooth 4.0. They respectively double and triple the speed offered by WCN3680.

The first smartphones with 802.11ac likely won't arrive until 2014, according to market research company IMS. This is mainly because the components needed are currently too expensive and too large, it said back in January.

To help inspire networking vendors, Qualcomm has also announced the new QCA9005AP 802.11ac reference platform for wireless routers, gateways and enterprise access points.

The new platform includes both 802.11n, 802.11ac and a Gigabit Ethernet switch.

Qualcomm's 802.11ac chipsets are currently sampling to vendors in North America, Europe, China, Korea and Japan, and they are expected to ship in volume the second half of 2012, the company said.

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Mikael Ricknäs

IDG News Service
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