A lot of Qualcomm's development effort has also involved creating integrated communications processors, marrying Wi-Fi with Bluetooth and other radios, and then tying the result closely to its Snapdragon applications processor, which powers a wide range of smartphones today.
Qualcomm's booth here showed its single-stream 11ac radio, mounted in smartphone prototypes, running in the 220Mbps range, peaking at one point to 247Mbps, in a surrounding Wi-Fi environment, inside MWC's cavernous Hall 8, that Favreau described as "challenging."
Qualcomm's timeline is less aggressive than Broadcom's. Favreau says he's working with equipment makers, for everything from phones and laptop dongles to access points, to release final products in early 2013, a time frame chosen to coincide with the ramp-up of the Wi-Fi Alliance's 11ac certification program. The reason, he says, is to ensure that most of the first 11ac implementations are fully interoperable, avoiding the stumbles that occurred with early releases of the still-in-development 802.11n products a couple of years ago.
Both companies say the extra power won't take extra electrical power, a key issue for battery-operated mobile devices. Part of the reason is proprietary power management wizardry, but part of the reason is simply the much higher 11ac throughput. "We run apps much faster, and get back to a low-power 'sleet state' [for the radio] much faster, and spend more time in sleep state," Favreau said.
"We think11ac will be adopted much faster than 11n was," he said. One reason for that is the expected fast adoption of 11ac in a wide range of client devices, including the fast growing markets for smartphones, tablets and increasingly for consumer electronics like digital cameras and flat panels.
Another reason, at least for Qualcomm's network gear builders, is what Favreau called CPU offload. "OEMs can reuse their existing network processors, and just add in our new high-end 11ac product," he said.
John Cox covers wireless networking and mobile computing for Network World. Twitter: http://twitter.com/johnwcoxnww Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Blog RSS feed: http://www.networkworld.com/community/blog/2989/feed
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