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Qualcomm’s new Wi-Fi 6E chipsets promise faster, more capable mobile devices

Qualcomm's new Wi-Fi 6E chipsets promise faster, more capable mobile devices
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Shara Tibken/CNET

Promising the fastest available speeds in mobile Wi-Fi, Qualcomm is rolling out new Wi-Fi 6E chipsets capable of tapping into new bandwidth in the 6GHz spectrum made available by an FCC decision just last month. Dubbed the Qualcomm FastConnect 6700 and FastConnect 6900 mobile connectivity systems, the chipsets promise speeds of up to 3.6Gbps and “VR-class” low latency, as well as Bluetooth advancements for emerging LE Audio use cases.

“With the introduction of the FastConnect 6900 and 6700 solutions, Qualcomm Technologies is redefining the mobile experience by extending the power of Wi-Fi 6 into the 6 GHz band and advancing wireless audio with cutting-edge integrated Bluetooth 5.2 features,” said Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.’s Dino Bekis, vice president and general manager, mobile and compute connectivity. “These innovations enable us to further break away from the pack and deliver a connectivity portfolio optimized to accelerate global adoption across multiple smartphone tiers.”


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With 1,200MHz of bandwidth untouched by other Wi-Fi devices up until now, the 6GHz band represents an awful lot of fresh real estate for wireless transmissions, with room for a greater number of wider channels for increased throughput. For comparison, the 2.4 and 5GHz bands used by current-gen Wi-Fi devices offer just 70 and 500MHz of bandwidth, respectively.

With the FCC voting unanimously to open that 6GHz band to unlicensed Wi-Fi, manufacturers are racing to take advantage. At the start of 2020 and in anticipation of the FCC’s move, the Wi-Fi Alliance created the Wi-Fi 6E branding to help identify devices capable of accessing the 6GHz band. In February, Broadcom followed suit with new Wi-Fi 6E chipsets of its own.

“Wi-Fi Alliance members have mobilized around 6GHz in an unprecedented way, and we’re excited to see Wi-Fi 6E solutions rapidly coming to market with the availability of new unlicensed spectrum in the US,” said Kevin Robinson, Senior VP of Marketing, Wi-Fi Alliance.

Qualcomm says that the FastConnect 6700 and 6900 systems are sampling now and will ship in production during the second half of 2020.