Qualcomm excited about Wi-Fi 6E, has device silicon ready

Qualcomm has more than 17 Wi-Fi 6-enabled devices and more than 200 AP and gateway designs

Last month, the FCC opened up the 6 GHz frequency band for use by Wi-Fi 6 technology, a decision that is receiving substantial industry praise. Qualcomm is no different, as the company’s Senior VP and GM of Connectivity Rahul Patel told RCR Wireless News.

“The last time spectrum was opened for Wi-Fi was 20 years ago. We are very excited about Wi-Fi 6E,” Patel said. “For us and our customers, we all are very enthusiastic and eager to launch [compatible devices]as quickly as possible.”

The ability to leverage the 6 GHz band for unlicensed Wi-Fi operation — referred to as Wi-Fi 6E — will deliver faster connectivity speeds and improved capacity when compared to both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi, making it ideal for smartphones, tablets, laptops and, perhaps most exciting, virtual/augmented devices. Further, the MU-MIMO capabilities of 802.11ax, or Wi-Fi 6, combined with 6 GHz will create a number of use cases both in the home and in the enterprise space.

According to Patel, Qualcomm already has more than 17 Wi-Fi 6-enabled devices and an additional 200 or so access points (APs) and gateway designs.

He also said that while the expectation is for Wi-Fi 6E to launch sometime around the end of this year or the beginning of next, some companies, Qualcomm being one of them, will enable customers to launch sooner than that.

“My anticipation is that we will be seeing AP solutions supporting Wi-Fi 6E by end of this year and we will be seeing handsets by the first quarter of next year,” he said. “Today, Qualcomm has silicon for both of these platforms.”

Patel’s suggested timeline matches up pretty well with the one laid out by Wi-Fi Alliance’s Senior Vice President of Marketing Kevin Robinson, who claimed that devices with Wi-Fi 6E will become available very quickly, with more than 300 million Wi-Fi 6E devices coming to market in 2021.

“The expectation is for things like access points to come to market in the fourth quarter of this year. In addition, W-Fi Alliance will be launching its certification for Wi-Fi 6 devices to operate in 6 GHz in early 2021, Robinson said.

 

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