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.
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 802.2.af 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.