Weeks after US regulator the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to make 1,200MHz of spectrum available for unlicensed Wi-Fi use in the 6GHz band, Qualcomm Technologies has announced a range of products to take early advantage of the so-called Wi-Fi 6E standard.
The FCC’s decision on 24 April has been described as a milestone and a watershed moment for innovation that will no less than supercharge connectivity in basically all application areas, such as remote education, telemedicine, work and commerce, gaming and social media.
Wi-Fi 6E, referring to extended capabilities in the 6GHz band, will go some way to addressing regular Wi-Fi’s spectrum shortage by bringing nearly six times the total capacity in both 2.4GHz and 5GHz ranges; seven contiguous 160MHz channels; and less interference from legacy Wi-Fi devices. This is said to translate to multigigabit Wi-Fi speeds and more devices performing optimally on a Wi-Fi network at once.
Aiming to take advantage, Qualcomm has introduced a “flagship portfolio” of mobile connectivity systems that represent “the most advanced” Wi-Fi 6E offerings of their kind – the Qualcomm FastConnect 6900 and Qualcomm FastConnect 6700 mobile connectivity systems. Assessing the rationale for the launch and the likely ramifications, Geoff Blaber, vice-president of research for the Americas at research firm CCS Insights, said: “Wi-Fi 6E delivers an unprecedented improvement in capacity to meet the rapid growth of connected devices and data demand. The introduction of supporting chipsets so soon after the FCC ruling ensures customers will see the benefits quickly and is an indicator of both Qualcomm Technologies’ investment and broad industry collaboration.”
Building on Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth audio technology features, the two systems are said to feature the fastest available Wi-Fi speeds in the industry on a mobile Wi-Fi offering, virtual reality-class low latency and Bluetooth advancements delivering immersive audio experiences for classic and emerging LE Audio use cases.
FastConnect 6900 is said to offer the fastest available Wi-Fi 6 of any mobile Wi-Fi offering in the industry offers at up to 3.6Gbps in speed, while FastConnect 6700 delivers impressive peak speeds approaching 3Gbps. Driving this performance for both FastConnect systems are features such as the Qualcomm 4K QAM (2.4GHz, 5GHz, 6GHz) which the company said was an industry-first implementation of this advanced modulation technique and can extend the maximum QAM rate, across any supported band, from 1K to 4K for enhanced gaming and ultra HD streaming.
The technology supports up to 60MHz channels in both 5GHz and 6GHz bands, dramatically expanding throughput while reducing congestion, and FastConnect 6900 delivers an extra boost of performance through additional unique feature implementation of four-stream dual band simultaneous (DBS) with multiband (including 6GHz) capabilities.
Looking at the types of firms that will adopt the technology, one key company that has already announced support is LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company.
Commenting on what the launch means for his firm, David Yoon, vice-president of LG’s mobile comms product planning division, said: “Our long-standing collaboration with Qualcomm Technologies allows us to deliver high-quality, breakthrough technologies to our global customers. The FastConnect platforms will allow us to integrate multitasking capabilities into our phones, along with wireless display interfaces, which – when combined with the power of 5G – will help our customers to boost productivity and efficiency.”