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Wi-Fi 6/6E Powers Qualcomm’s Next-Generation Mesh Networks

Nov. 19, 2020
A modular architecture blankets the connected home with high-performance, cost-effective Wi-Fi 6/6E mesh deployment.

This article appeared in Microwaves & RF and has been published here with permission.

In these times of quarantines, home offices, and sky-high data usage, the basic Wi-Fi paradigm of a single router servicing the entire home seems quaint and, frankly, not up to the task anymore. While Mom’s on a work Zoom call, Junior’s killing it in competitive e-sports and Dad’s downloading 4k videos all at the same time; meanwhile, other bits of bandwidth are going to thermostats, light bulbs, and security systems. There’s got to be a better way, and in its Immersive Home mesh Wi-Fi platform, Qualcomm may just have it literally in hand.

Devices built with the Immersive Home platform are designed to deploy low-latency, gigabit-speed mesh Wi-Fi performance to every room in the home in form factors as small as, well, the palm of the hand. Not only that, but they’re also expected to be well within consumers’ price range, even as they incorporate a new modular architecture, major advances in network packet-processing technology, and an integration of next-generation Wi-Fi 6 and 6E.

“Not every household has the same requirements,” said Bob O’Donnell, president and chief analyst at TECHnalysis Research, LLC. “The beauty of a modular platform is that it lets OEMs and consumers tackle everything from forward-looking massive bandwidth applications using 6-GHz Wi-Fi 6E to tiny mesh extenders that can inconspicuously bring stronger traditional Wi-Fi signals to every room in a home.”

To that end, Qualcomm’s Immersive Home Platforms offer four distinct product tiers intended to meet the varying needs of consumer OEMs and broadband carriers.

For the most demanding environments, the Immersive Home 310 Series devices represent Qualcomm’s Tri-Band Wi-Fi 6 platforms within the portfolio. They are built to simultaneously support IoT-class devices on the 2.4-GHz band and today’s legacy media devices on the 5-GHz band. Meanwhile, they also migrate node-to-node backhaul traffic from 5 GHz to the newly opened 6-GHz band while ensuring the network is prepared to support devices supporting emerging 6-GHz applications (VR/XR, live video sharing/streaming, real-time gaming).

The Immersive Home 318 platform delivers: 

  • 8-stream Tri-Band in a 2x2 (2.4 GHz) + 2x2 (5 GHz) + 4x4 (6 GHz) configuration, for a total available PHY rate of 7.8 Gb/s.
  • Multi-gigabit wireless throughput for high-performance clients.
  • Support for 160-MHz channels in 5/6 GHz bands
  • 4x4 Wi-Fi 6E configuration in the 6-GHz band delivers enhanced performance, range, and/or client count.

In the Immersive Home 316 Platform, it’s 6-stream Tri-Band in a 2x2 (2.4 GHz) + 2x2 (5 GHz) + 2x2 (6 GHz) configuration, for a total available PHY rate of 5.4 Gb/s.

Existing mesh providers can garner performance and cost benefits from the Immersive Home 210 Series. The 216 platform brings 6-stream Wi-Fi 6 in a 2x2 (2.4 GHz) + 4x4 (5 GHz) configuration, for a total available PHY rate of 5.4 Gbps. Finally, the 214 platform provides 4-stream Wi-Fi 6 in a 2x2 (2.4 GHz) + 2x2 (5 GHz) configuration, for a total available PHY rate of 3.0 Gbps. Like the 318 platform, the 316, 216, and 214 platforms all support the same 160-MHz channels.

In both dual and tri-band series, the platforms deliver Gigabit wireless in a form factor highly optimized for size, scale, and performance. When compared to Qualcomm’s earlier IPQ4xxx family (found in most Wi-Fi 5-generation mesh systems), the Immersive Home Platforms can deliver 2.5X throughput per watt, which means smaller, cooler, and less costly end products.

Other key features of the Qualcomm Immersive Home platform devices include:

Broad Wi-Fi technology support: Qualcomm Immersive Home Platforms are built to deliver seamless roaming, band/node client steering, and advanced security safeguards across Wi-Fi 4, 5, 6, 6E, and support many of the industry’s leading mesh software protocols including Qualcomm Wi-Fi SON, the OpenSync open-source software, eero’s TrueMesh, and the Wi-Fi Alliance’s Wi-Fi CERTIFIED EasyMesh standard.

Powerful smart home integration capabilities: Qualcomm Immersive Home Platforms feature advanced Qualcomm Multi-User Traffic Management technologies to balance and support all the Wi-Fi connected devices in a modern smart home, while high-performance Bluetooth integration enables seamless onboarding and integration of advanced applications leveraging either connectivity technology.

Ultra-low latency enabled: Qualcomm Immersive Home Platforms can support, in certain configurations with 6-GHz operation, a new class of emerging latency-sensitive applications like mobile gaming and XR through latency reduction up to 8x in congested environments and wireless VR-class latency of <3 ms.

Qualcomm Immersive Home Platforms are sampling now to customers.

Qualcomm, www.qualcomm.com

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