Monday, November 14, 2011

Quantenna First with 4x4 MIMO 802.11ac Silicon

Quantenna Communications, a start-up based in Fremont, California announced its upcoming IEEE 802.11ac chipset featuring 4x4 multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) and digital beamforming technology.

Quantenna's new QAC2300 two-chip solution includes a new 4x4 MIMO digital baseband chip that supports the latest 802.11ac specifications, combined with Quantenna's shipping radio frequency (RF) chip, which already supports 802.11ac. The company is offering a QAC2300-RDK reference design that includes schematics, layout, and design guidelines. The design support 2 Gbps dual-band, dual-concurrent operation (5 GHz 802.11ac plus 2.4 GHz 802.11n) using PCI-e or dual RGMII interfaces.

Quantenna, which has built up momentum for its 802.11n 4X4 MIMO as an in-home, wireless video distribution solution for service providers, said its initial design is targeted at consumer retail Wi-Fi gear. While 802.11ac support greater bandwidth due to wider channels than 802.11n, the trade off is fewer channels. Some service providers may continue to choose 802.11n 4x4 MIMO over 802.11ac for this reason, however for the consumer market, the gigabit class performance is a boost. 802.11ac may also find take-up in enterprise WLAN deployments for this same reason.

"The QAC2300 for retail applications complements our existing QHS71x product line, which is optimized for service providers,�? said Dr. Sam Heidari, chief executive officer for Quantenna. “This new 802.11ac solution is an industry first that reinforces our leadership role in high-throughput wireless technology, and extends it into new retail and consumer electronics market segments."

Quantenna's existing family of "Full-11n" 5GHz chipsets uses the company's cost-optimized, third-generation 4x4 MIMO technology to deliver up to 600 Mbps of bandwidth inside the home. http://www.quantenna.comSome key attributes of 802.11ac:

  • Unlike 802.11n, 802.11ac is exclusive to 5 GHz spectrum because this band offers more non-overlapping channels and has fewer interferers.

  • 802.11ac client silicon will support a fall-back to 802.11n when 802.11ac is not available. 802.11ac base stations will support concurrent 802.11n and 802.11ac clients.

  • 802.11ac gets its performance boost by using wider channels

  • The latency of 802.11ac is improved over 802.11n

  • Beamforming was promised in 802.11n but not really implemented in practice unless the same vendor's silicon was in both the client and access point. This problem has been fixed in 802.11ac with the industry agreeing to one beamforming methodology.

  • 802.11ac will offer better support for more significantly more clients on wireless networks.

  • Performance-to-power has been improved. Faster downloads means the radios can return to low-power standby modes faster.

  • The range of 802.11ac and 802.11n are similar.

See also