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Qualcomm kicks out mesh network, Wi-Fi and RubinPhone win

Comms chip designer rolls out latest hardware lines in Taipei

By Shaun Nichols, 30 May 2017

Chip designer Qualcomm has rolled out a trio of new products for wireless networking and mobile devices.

The announcements, dropped in Taipei at the annual Computex conference, cover both Wi‑Fi and mobile broadband networks, as well as a new smartphone to feature the Snapdragon 835 system-on-chip (SoC).

802.11ad Wi-Fi gets taken outside

The 802.11ad standard, commonly used for home docking stations and other short range high-speed connections, will be shoehorned by Qualcomm into a range of business and industrial devices, including outdoor networks.

The new 802.11ad chipsets will be able to support up to 256 antenna connections, a feature that Qualcomm hopes will overcome the reception problems that have limited the Wi‑Gig hardware to devices that stay within a close distance of one another.

"802.11ad holds great promise for a wide variety of consumer applications, and can now provide enterprises and carriers with a highly robust and cost-effective way to extend their networks, indoors and out," boasted Irvind Ghai, Qualcomm VP of product management.

Mesh networking aims to lure in OEMs

Qualcomm is looking to build a market for a new line of "mesh networking" devices that use both Wi‑Fi and wired networks (such as home internet connections that include Bluetooth IoT devices or data over power line connections).

The push includes a new mesh networking reference design for manufacturers, as well as a self-organizing network (SON) set of features for endpoints that use its IPQ40x8/9 networking SoC.

Qualcomm hopes the mesh networking will hold appeal to network carriers and hardware manufacturers building both networking and connected IoT devices for home use.

Snapdragon plugs into Essential

The latest-gen mobile chip is featuring in another much-hyped announcement hitting this week: Andy Rubin's "Essential" phone. Qualcomm also inked a deal to provide the LTE modem for the phone with its X16 hardware.

Billed for its use of 10nm FinFET transistors, Qualcomm has said the Snapdragon 835 is 35 per cent smaller and 25 per cent more power efficient than its predecessors. In the Essential handset it will help support, among other features, a pair of 13MP rear-facing cameras.

Qualcomm has also pegged the Snapdragon 835 as a candidate for ARM-based Windows 10 PCs, though the first models are not slated to arrive until the end of the calendar year at the earliest. ®

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