Broadcom launches first gigabit speed 802.11ac chips

by K C Krishnadas, TechOnline India - January 09, 2012

The increased speed of 5G WiFi allows consumers to load web content on a mobile device faster, synch large video or music files quickly, all while extending battery life.

Broadcom has announced its family of 802.11ac (5G WiFi) chips designed for a range of product segments. The new IEEE 802.11ac chips are three times faster and up to six times more power efficient than equivalent 802.11n solutions.

5G WiFi is the next generation Wi-Fi standard required for today’s mobile and video era. Based on 802.11ac, 5G WiFi is a major step from the existing 802.11a/b/g/n networks. Broadcom’s 5G WiFi dramatically improves the wireless range in the home, allowing consumers to watch HD-quality video from more devices, in more places, simultaneously. The increased speed enables consumers to download web content from a mobile device faster and quickly synch large files, such as videos, in a fraction of the time it would take on a similar 802.11n device. As 5G WiFi transfers the same volume of data at a much faster rate, devices enter low-power mode faster, which results in significant power consumption advantages.

“Wi-Fi-enabled devices will grow from less than 1 billion units in 2010 to more than 3 billion in 2015[1]. Given the current constraints of legacy 802.11 standards and the increased speed, capacity, coverage and battery life that 802.11ac offers, this next generation of Wi-Fi is poised for rapid growth across all product segments. 802.11ac will be one of the most influential mobile and wireless technologies in the years to come,” said Mark Hung, Research Director, Wireless, Gartner Research.

Digital-content consumption is rising steeply and expected to reach approximately 90 percent of global consumer traffic, according to Cisco’s 2011 Visual Networking Index Forecast. Simultaneously, Internet traffic is quickly shifting  from wired to wireless networks. The increased reliance on wireless networks, the explosion of video consumption and the growing number of wireless devices being used are all putting tremendous stress on legacy 802.11a/b/g/n networks. As a result, consumers are prone to experience deteriorated performance, choppy videos and slower load times.  

By creating more reliable whole-home coverage, Broadcom’s 5G WiFi technology overcomes the digital content and wireless device challenge. Broadcom’s family of 5G WiFi solutions includes the BCM4360, BCM4352, BCM43526 and BCM43516. 

Product Highlights:

All 5G WiFi solutions from Broadcom support the following features:

• 80 MHz channel bandwidth that is 2 times wider than current 802.11n solutions
• 256-QAM, a higher modulation scheme that increases data transfer efficiency
• Transmit and receive beamforming
• Low Density Parity Check (LDPC) Codes
• Space-Time Block Codes (STBC)

• BCM4360 supports the PCIe interface and implements 3-stream 802.11ac specifications, and reaches speeds up to 1.3 Gbps.
• BCM4352 and BCM43526 implement 2-stream 802.11ac specification to reach up to 867 Mbps. BCM4352 supports PCIe interface; BCM43526 supports the USB interface.
• BCM43516 supports USB and reaches speeds of up to 433 Mbps with its single stream 802.11ac implementation.
• Chips with the PCIe interface are ideal for access points, routers, DSL/cable gateways and PC products; chips that use USB are ideal for consumer electronics devices including televisions, set-top boxes and Blu-Ray players.
• Broadcom’s new 5G WiFi chips deliver better coverage and longer battery life in a small form factor that is interoperable and compatible with existing technologies.

• Beamforming helps steer content in the direction of the intended receiver, increasing reliability and extending range; this is well complemented by STBC and LDPC code support.
• By transferring the same volume of data at a much faster rate, devices go into a low-power mode faster than existing 802.11n solutions.
• Designed on 40nm manufacturing process, the new chips are smaller and more power efficient, giving customers more design freedom.
• Broadcom’s 5G WiFi solutions work with all legacy 802.11 standards and complement other wireless technologies – like Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth and NFC.
 
Broadcom is sampling 5G WiFi solutions to its early access partners including retail and PC OEMs, service providers and carriers, and will be demonstrating 5G WiFi capabilities at CES. 802.11ac has generated broad support across the consumer-electronics industry. 

“The exponential growth of digital media and wirelessly connected devices requires faster and more reliable ways to connect anytime, anywhere. 5G WiFi solves this media explosion challenge," said Michael Hurlston, Senior Vice President, Mobile & Wireless Group, Broadcom.

For more information visit www.5GWiFi.org  

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