By Claus Hetting, Wi-Fi NOW CEO & Chairman
Hot on the heels of the Wi-Fi Alliance last week affording a name to Wi-Fi 6 operating in the still-to-be-released 6 GHz band, Broadcom today became the first vendor to announce availability of 6 GHz Wi-Fi chips. Broadcom’s new Wi-Fi 6E chipset family is intended for enterprise APs and residential gateways, the company says. The chipset release comes as CES kicks its 2020 edition into gear in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The Wi-Fi industry is wasting no time getting on with the 6 GHz story even before the FCC has made its final decision on new regulation for the band. Last week the Wi-Fi Alliance dubbed Wi-Fi 6 in 6 GHz ‘Wi-Fi 6E’ and on opening day of CES 2020 in Las Vegas – today – chipset leader Broadcom has announced availability of the world’s first Wi-Fi 6E chips for networking.
A series of eight chips will be made available for sampling, Broadcom said in their press release today. The Wi-Fi 6E radio configurations for then new chips range from 4×4 dual band with 160 MHz channel support down to 2×2 tri-band and dual 2×2 with ARM processor, with four chips each serving residential gateway APs and enterprise APs markets, respectively. The only other Wi-Fi chipset vendor who – to our knowledge – has officially said anything about 6 GHz chips is Intel, who demonstrated 6 GHz Wi-Fi capability at last years Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.
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Broadcom has thus far dominated the Wi-Fi 6 market in particular on the smartphone side, supplying Wi-Fi 6 chipsets to market leaders Samsung and Apple. The company says 125 million Wi-Fi 6 smartphones have been shipped – and they should know, because by far most if not all of those have included Broadcom chips. Conversely, chipset competitor Qualcomm has been dominant on the Wi-Fi 6 enterprise AP side as well as in providing Wi-Fi 5 chipset technology for consumer mesh systems, a runaway success during the past couple of years.
Broadcom says in their press release that their new Wi-Fi 6E chipset family will “open up unprecedented capacity for high-bandwidth applications such as 8K video streaming, real-time immersive gaming, virtual and augmented reality, and high-speed tethering.”
And of course they are right. Wi-Fi 6E is the wireless story not just of 2020 but probably of the entire 2020’s decade. At Wi-Fi NOW we believe Wi-Fi 6E – meaning Wi-Fi in the new 1.2 GHz wide 6 GHz band – will be a paradigm shift in wireless. Read more about that here.