Chips coming by June will herald the next generation of Wi-Fi


Qualcomm will start shipping sample chips for the next generation of Wi-Fi by June, helping device and network vendors develop products that might quadruple users’ speeds and lengthen battery life.

The new silicon uses an early version of IEEE 802.11ax, a specification designed to make wireless LANs more efficient and increase their performance as a result. The formal standard isn’t expected to be signed off until late next year, but it’s common for some components using a new standard to ship before that step takes place.

This is the next generation of Wi-Fi after 802.11ac, which is already capable of gigabit speeds with the right features and conditions. That technology is still finding its way into consumers’ devices and corporate and service-provider networks.

The new 802.11ax standard builds on some of 11ac’s tricks and adds some of its own. It’s designed to give better performance in tough situations people encounter in the real world, such as environments with many competing Wi-Fi networks. Wi-Fi is likely to coexist with – and participate in – an increasingly complex radio environment as advanced LTE and then 5G are deployed.

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