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Qualcomm® based 802.11ax client modules by AIRETOS®

May 30, 2019

We announce the first Wi-Fi 6 Chip-On-Board (CoB) client modules, the AIRETOS® E63 Class, based on the newest Qualcomm® chipset, the QCA6390. The ground-breaking next generation of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth® connectivity protocols are supported with a choice of form factor implementations.

The QCA6390 is Qualcomm Technologies’ most advanced Wi-Fi client solution designed to offer fast, secure and efficient Wi-Fi connectivity, to meet consumer demands for greater robustness and reduced latency when operating in congested and dense environments.  The E63 features Dual-Band Simultaneous (DBS) Wi-Fi 6 multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) links, that are designed to deliver efficient Wi-Fi connectivity in dense implementation applications and to support ultra-high definition (ultra-HD) video streaming on multiple displays, screen mirroring from compatible devices and wireless back-up cameras. Furthermore, the new Bluetooth 5.1 coexisting functionality, supports Bluetooth Broadcasting to multiple devices and Qualcomm®’s aptX Adaptive audio delivering high fidelity streaming. 

The key features of the Wi-Fi 6 AIRETOS© E63 Class include:

– Increased user throughput in crowded networks, designed to reach rates of nearly 1.8 Gbps, featuring Dual-Band Simultaneous (DBS) and Higher Order Modulation (1024 QAM) in both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands.

– 8-Stream Sounding, designed to allow connected devices to leverage the growing base of 8×8 MU-MIMO Wi-Fi 6 access points.

– Improved security utilizing WPA3, the latest Wi-Fi security protocol, to support WPA-3-Personal, WPA3-Enterprise, WPA3-Enhanced Open, WPA3-Easy Connect.

– Bluetooth 5.1 coexistence on board on a single chip, with support for BLE long-range, BT Broadcasting and a Qualcomm®’s aptX-Adaptive audio for ultra-HD quality voice and low latency audio.

The VoxMicro AIRETOS® E63 Class is expected to be fully available in the early fourth quarter of 2019. 

How 802.11ax is revolutionizing Wi-Fi

Yes, 802.11ax is special. It’s special because it’s a very different approach to solving some of the most pressing density-created issues impacting Wi-Fi performance today. Density refers to how networks are increasingly asked to support more devices than ever before, as well as how networks overlap each other in neighborhoods, apartment buildings, etc.

11ax is developed to address this issue in whole new ways. Expanding on 802.11ac to now support 8×8 MU-MIMO 11ax also folds in technologies like OFDMA, which is designed to optimize traffic for more efficient use of the available spectrum, more akin to how LTE networks work.

All this techno-speak really boils down to one thing. 11ax changes the game from delivering speed (theoretical maximum rate of data transfer) to maximizing capacity (how much data can be moved to the maximum number of users in the shortest period of time).

Up to 4x increased capacity

Manage a large number of devices and the explosion of IoT, while supporting the increasing demand for data.

Higher efficiency

Deliver the right resources to a diverse set of devices with differing needs.

Improved coverage & performance

Provide robust coverage and reliable connectivity indoors and outdoors with >4x increase in speed for users on the coverage border.

Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) means unprecedented capacity and better efficiency.

Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) is designed to improve the way Wi-Fi networks work by adding substantially higher capacity, better coverage and reduced congestion for better user experience. It’s Wi-Fi for the real world.

Usage models: what can we do with 802.11ax?

– Improved performance in dense networks is the primary goal of 802.11ax. Dense networks can take different forms: large numbers of clients in a small area, or closely-spaced access points, and sometimes overlapping access points that may have common or entirely separate management. The new standard and certification offer solutions for all these scenarios.

– Whether or not it is called ‘IoT’, the industry is looking forward to a much wider range of Wi-Fi connected clients in the 802.11ax era. The power-saving features in the new certification, particularly TWT, 20 MHz-only, as well as some of the multi-user control functions and OFDMA will all contribute to extending battery life far enough to make inroads into the emerging IoT market.

– The outdoor point-to-point, point-to-multipoint and mesh markets are often overshadowed by the home and business WLAN segments, but they represent sizeable and consistent markets for Wi-Fi equipment and will benefit from several improvements in 802.11ax.

Which applications will benefit mostly by the 802.11ax advantages?

– 802.11ax will be a necessity for airports and stations, next-generation e-classrooms, colleges and schools, shopping malls, wireless office environments, smart cars, stadiums, smart cities, dense apartment buildings, suburban homes, and much more dense usage scenarios.

– One of the more significant targets of the 5G project from the cellular world is ‘fixed wireless access’ (FWA) where wireless mesh networks deliver broadband Internet service to the home in urban and rural settings. 802.11ax with is made for 8×8 MU-MIMO is a must-have premium tier offering to deliver Wi-Fi performance for the 5G era.

Which is the best deployment strategy of 802.11ax?

– Wi-Fi can boast a near-flawless backward-compatibility record. Thanks to the legacy training fields in every packet preamble, even 15-year-old 802.11g equipment is able to decode 802.11ax frames. 

– Even the extended-range outdoor features, which because of dual-beacons and other special frames will be incompatible with older equipment, will be protected by co-locating a ‘legacy’ AP beacon. This allows different strategies when upgrading an 802.11n or 802.11ac WLAN to 802.11x.

– The increased sustained throughput of an 802.11ax AP may also prompt a backhaul upgrade. While many APs support dual 1 Gbps Ethernet connections, the move to 2.5 and 5 Gbps Ethernet will be attractive over the long term.

Which are 802.11ax major features?

Downlink and Uplink OFDMA: allows a single transmission to be split by frequency within a channel, such that different frames addressed to different client devices use groups of subcarriers. Uplink OFDMA is equivalent to downlink OFDMA, but in this case, multiple client devices transmit simultaneously, on different groups of subcarriers within the same channel.

Downlink and uplink multi-user MIMO: the downlink version extends an existing 802.11ac feature where an access point determines that multipath conditions allow it to send, in a single time-interval, frames to different client devices. 802.11ax increases the size of downlink MU-MIMO groups, allowing more efficient operation.

Transmit Beamforming: an access point uses a number of transmit antennas to land a local maximum signal on a receiver’s antennas. It improves data-rates and extends the range.

Higher-Order Modulation: in 802.11ax, the highest-order modulation is extended to 1024-QAM. This increases peak data-rates under good conditions (high SNR).

Outdoor Operation: a number of features improve outdoor performance. The most important is a new packet format where the most sensitive field is now repeated for robustness. Other features that contribute to better outdoor operation include longer guard intervals and modes that introduce redundancy to allow for error recovery.

Reduced Power Consumption: power-save modes are empowered with new mechanisms allowing longer sleep intervals and scheduled wake times. Also, for IoT devices, a 20MHz-channel-only mode is introduced, allowing for simpler, less powerful chips that support that mode.

Spatial re-use: When contending for a transmit opportunity, a device is allowed to transmit over the top of a distant transmission, which would previously have forced it to wait. This increases network capacity by allowing more simultaneous transmissions in a given geographic area.

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