Qualcomm says it has 600 Mbps 802.11n 4x4 solution: The cellular and GPS chipmaking giant finally releases new Wi-Fi gear, blowing the roof off with a 600 Mpbs (raw), 4-radio, dual-band, 4x4 antenna array--the N-Stream Wireless LAN WCN1320. The chip will sample this month, allowing manufacturing partners to start designing products around it. A production date isn't announced.
Ever since the grand compromise was made that allowed Task Group N in the IEEE 802.11 Working Group to move forward, the option of having four radios and a 4x4 antenna array for a raw data rate of about 600 Mbps has existed. However, the cost of such a device would be so high that until 2-radio (raw 300 Mbps) 802.11n was in wide use--especially in enterprises--the 4-radio flavor didn't seem to be something the market would demand and pay a huge premium for.
1 1/2 to 2 1/2 years into the N revolution, depending on how you count, the time must be ripe. Qualcomm is advertising this product as a way to carry multiple HD streams across a house. The chip integrates an application processor, which allows a set-top box or other equipment maker to offload some processing to the chip instead of adding an additional burden.
Qualcomm acquired the pioneering MIMO Wi-Fi firm Airgo a couple of years ago, and this is the first standalone Wi-Fi product that's emerged from the firm since then.
The company isn't the first to announce a 4-radio 802.11n solution. The startup firm Quantenna announced a 4-radio, 4x4 antenna chip that it could configure in a pair for what they say would be an aggregate of 1 Gbps across 2.4 and 5 GHz. As far as I can tell, Quantenna is sampling, but no products are yet shipping.