Calls 802.11ay Wi-Fi for the 5G era

While the IEEE 802.11ax Wi-Fi standard got a boost this month with its rebranding as Wi-Fi 6, now 802.11ay, which can provide multi-gigabit-per-second throughput using the unlicensed 60 GHz band, is taking centerstage. Qualcomm announced today it’s shipping device and infrastructure chipsets that support 802.11ay and can deliver more than 10 Gbps.

Qualcomm billed the new chips — QCA64x8 and QCA64x1—as supporting the tandem evolutions of cellular and Wi-Fi into millimeter wave frequencies.

Qualcomm Technologies SVP and GM, Connectivity and Networking, Rahul Patel said in a statement that high-band spectrum “holds enormous potential to support a new class of user experiences. Our ay solutions were developed with the flexibility to support a broad ecosystem of smartphone, router or fixed wireless access platforms and provides the industry with the critical building blocks needed to take connectivity performance to the next level.”

The San Diego-based chipmaker calls out ay use cases such as UHD video streaming, augmented and virtual reality, “mobile screen casting and fixed wireless mesh backhaul.”

802.11ay, according to IEEE, is an extension of 802.11ad, also known as WiGig. According to the standards-setting group, while WiGig “was a significant achievement, throughput and reliability requirements of new applications…exceed what 802.11ad can offer.”

Relative to the 60 GHz band, Qualcomm plans to test its ay chips with Facebook. The social media giant wants to boost urban connectivity with its Terragraph solution and is working toward field trials in mid-2019.

Facebook’s Anuj Madan said 60 GHz could allow “service providers to offer high-quality internet connectivity in dense urban and suburban areas.”




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