Qualcomm and partners announce aggressive deployment of Wi-Fi 6 tech in infrastructure and devices

Qualcomm booth at CES 2018
Qualcomm booth at CES 2018 (Image credit: Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Qualcomm Networking Pro Series platforms offer companies variety of Wi-Fi 6 infrastructure solutions.
  • New FastConnect 6800 subsystem will bring even more advanced Wi-Fi 6 capabilities to phones and PCs.
  • Some of the biggest names in networking are announced as partners using both Qualcomm's client and infrastructure technology.

5G may be the talk of the town in smartphones, but parallel with those mobile network solutions there are also big upgrades on the horizon for Wi-Fi. At an event today, Qualcomm and many of its partners made big announcements of technology and products that will be bringing Wi-Fi 6, the next generation of Wi-Fi, to a broader market much faster than you may have expected.

What is Wi-Fi 6?

On Qualcomm's end, the company has announced "Networking Pro Series" platforms, which is Wi-Fi 6 chipset that's available in four different tiers to fit the various needs of partners when bringing Wi-Fi 6 hardware to market. Qualcomm, of course, claims that its Wi-Fi 6 technology is superior in terms of technological capabilities and also ease of deployment:

The platforms leverage the company's unique Wi-Fi 6 architecture and approach and are designed for densely congested networks, onboarding of hundreds of devices without degradation of user experience, and high performance.

The platforms offer up to 12 full streams of Wi-Fi 6 connectivity, including 8 streams of Wi-Fi 6 connectivity in the 5GHz band. They have MU-MIMO in the uplink and downlink across all bands, as well as OFDMA uplink and downlink across all bands with up to support for 37 users per 5GHz channel used. Qualcomm says its architecture supports up to 1500 simultaneous clients with either dual- or tri-radio configurations. And partners can choose to split streams to run multiple bands on the client side and on the backhaul side simultaneously.

Qualcomm's partners using the new Networking Pro Series platforms include Ruckus, HP Enterprise, Belkin, KT Corp. and Netgear — many of the biggest names in Wi-Fi infrastructure.

Alongside the announcement of the new platforms for the router infrastructure side of things, Qualcomm also took the time to remind everyone just how prolific its Wi-Fi technologies are across smartphones and PCs. Its current FastConnect 6200 subsystem already offers Wi-Fi 6 compatibility and is attached to "almost all" Snapdragon 855 and 855+ models available to device makers, including all 5G versions. Its upcoming FastConnect 6800 subsystem, which partners can choose to attach to their SoCs, supports MU-MIMO for Wi-Fi 6, among other improvements.

Between the strong list of partners in the infrastructure and device side, Qualcomm is doing its best to embed its technologies in all aspects of the early deployment of Wi-Fi 6. The benefits of dramatically higher simultaneous user counts, lower latency and faster speeds are easy to see across gaming, streaming, VR/AR and more.

Andrew Martonik

Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.