Quantenna, Freescale and 10 G Wave 3 Wi-Fi

The IBC show in Amsterdam this year inspired the re-thinking of Access Point architecture. Quantenna led the pack with their newest IC solution for increasing the MIMO order (i.e. the number of spatial streams per given channel) in their True 8×8TM radio configuration IC chip for 10G Wave 3 Wi-fi—the first in the industry.

8×8 radios at 5GHz are perfect for Enterprise usage. This new IC has dual band/dual concurrent operation in one IC at 2.4GHz and 5GHz. Dual 4×4 was unseated as the incumbent design architecture, each with a separate Service Set Identifier (SSID).

I admire Quantenna for anticipating that the industry is headed towards the Massive MIMO direction. We have maxed out 802.11ac and an 802.11ax is coming (Maybe with 8 or more streams). 802.11ac already is pretty fast at 1,300 Mbps, but 802.11ax will probably deliver 2 Gbps (even though right now your smartphone may have difficulty getting 400 Mbps with 802.11ac but you can be sure that the next-gen phones will greatly exceed that).

With MU-MIMO just coming onto the market, that will help things greatly. This technology will help increase theoretical maximum wireless speeds from 3.47Gbps to 6.93Gbps for 802.11ac Wave 2.

The next smart phones with have MU-MIMO and up to 4 smart phones can be served simultaneously with Quantenna’s new IC and Freescale’s new design. See my article on EDN.

Quantenna's True 8x8TM vs Dual 4x4

Quantenna’s True 8×8TM vs Dual 4×4

Two years ago 802.11ac went beyond the Gbps mark, but at some point we will have to tie into a wired line with only 1000 Base T at 1Gbps.since the “wired side” of a wireless LAN faces new and stringent demands.

2.5Gbps Ethernet was originally put together to help support Wi-Fi. Now Wi-Fi leads wire line as of two years ago as mentioned above. The pressure today is now on the wire line developers. Of course, fiber will soon come to maturity and move toward 10G, but with increased wireless capacity now wireline teams need to ensure the existing wired infrastructure will meet the demands of an 802.11ac wireless networks capacity to maximize these new gains in speed. It’s also important to provide enough voltage and power through power over Ethernet to 802.11ac access points with 802.3AT, PoE plus and capabilities.

I am anxious to see what comes next with 802.11ax around 2018, but even this standard’s slowest speed will be 100Mbps and that is pretty tough for a hard drive as well as being faster than memory storage speeds in most smart phones for now, but 5G will come in five years and smart phones will jump to another level of performance. As mentioned above, Quantenna and Freescale are anticipating the higher Wi-Fi speed needs to come—-Kudos to these companies with great foresight.

Please give me your predictions and opinions on this race to 5G.


4 comments on “Quantenna, Freescale and 10 G Wave 3 Wi-Fi

  1. eafpres
    October 27, 2015

    Hi Steve–I've been wondering about these developments and how that plays out to net improvement for actual users.  In my past experience working in an enterprise ecosystem, the client side is smartphones and laptops.  Most smartphones don't support MIMO for WLAN.  New laptops generally have 2-port diversity regardless of the specific flavor of 802.11.  So how do we get the benefits of this technology?

    Blaine Bateman

    President, EAF LLC

  2. Steve Taranovich
    October 27, 2015

    Good question Blaine,

    5G Wi-Fi is still relatively new to the market today. In 2014 Broadcom introduced an IC#BCM4354, which was the first 5G Wi-Fi 802.11ac 2×2 MIMO SoC. So a smart phone would be able to have 2 antennas and receive two streams of data at one time.

    Earlier this year Samsung sent out a 5G Vision white paper stating that they planned to get the first smartphone to India with this technology.

    But, essentially, Quantenna has raised the bar, not only to the wireline developers as mentioned in my article, but to the smartphone and PC developers, who will now try to be the first to get a device out there that can use Quantenna's technology.

    Quantenna told me that they know 5G devices are coming and their effort is ahead of the curve. I commend their foresight and the fact that they will now spur industry advancement because of their and Freescale's challenge to technology to catch up.

  3. eafpres
    October 27, 2015

    Hi Steve–thanks for the feedback.  I have to agree it is very aggressive on Quantenna's part to lauch this chipset.

    In laptops, it would be “relatively” easy to put 4 antennas in there.  A big problem is the two towards the top of the display have long cables, which would mean around 3dB loss just in those cables.  My current lenovo has the antennas in the hinge area, so putting 2 more somewhre else would be “easy”.

    The other hurdle then would be the chipsets for the client, and the costs of that plus 2 more connectors, 2 more calbes, and 2 antennas (usually flex PCB for those).

  4. Steve Taranovich
    October 27, 2015

    All excellent points Blaine, but as 5G technology approaches as a wireless standard in about 5 years, I feel that technology will rise to the challenge. Beamforming will be a necessity and maybe even the possibility of signals travelling between and through many cell phones in a coverage area to get to a final destination device has been discussed. Interesting ideas are emerging. See my 5G articles on EDN :–Part-1–Evolution-–The-potential-semiconductor-solutions



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