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4x4 WiFi chips boast dedicated DSP

Posted: 07 Jan 2015 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Broadcom? 5G? WiFi? DSP? router?

Broadcom has unleashed its next generation WiFi chips aimed at high-performance routers, gateways and set-top boxes (STBs). According to the company, the SoCs use 4 x 4 multiple user-multiple input, multiple output (MU-MIMO) for additional capacity and lower power consumption.

Broadcom's BCM4366 for gateways and STBs incorporates multiple 802.11ac Wave 2 features including radio optimisation for high quality video over a wireless network. The chip can be combined with an updated network processor SoC, based on a 1.4GHz dual core ARM-A9, for access point routers. When enabling four MU-capable devices, the chip has an aggregate throughput of 1,733MB/s.

The BCM4366 has a maximum speed of 2.2GB/s with a dedicated digital signal processor for MU-MIMO processing. Broadcom's first generation of WiFi chips didn't use a dedicated DSP.

Dual-band WiFi audio chip for IoT
The BCM43907 SoC reduces cost for OEMs by integrating all needed functionality onto a single device. The SoC provides high-definition (HD) audio streaming over a WiFi network to wireless audio devices and cuts interference for a better sound quality.

The chips add a proprietary 1,024 QAM modulation scheme, NitroQAM, to achieve higher throughput. To accommodate the Nitro mode, Broadcom designed transceivers with low noise floors and high quality transmit modulation. NitroQAM eventually will be available in all second generation 802.11ac devices, including chips for smartphones and tablets.

Using the same principals as carrier aggregation, Broadcom will use what it calls zero wait DFS to let access points to connect to multiple 5GHz channels to create channels up to 160MHz wide.

While the WiFi chip isn't using 60GHz bands, Patel believes some of the chip's capabilities will translate into 5G technology.

The chip supports operation in 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. The company announced upgrades to its 2 x 2 MIMO mobile line earlier this year and while Patel expects complimentary technology in the mobile space, he said 2 x 2 is still the right configuration for smartphones and tablets.

The 4 x 4 MU-MIMO chips will sample in 1Q15 and be in mass production in 2Q15.

- Jessica Lipsky
??EE Times

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