OnQ Blog

Solving the bandwidth bottleneck with 802.11ad and fiber-to-the-home

Mar 14, 2015

Qualcomm products mentioned within this post are offered by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.

With the recent introduction of 802.11ac Wi-Fi, many have asked how gigabit bandwidth helps consumers when their broadband access is still limited; DSL and cable modem speeds are typically under 100 Mbps. This is one reason why fiber-to-the-home is so popular in the cities where it is available. Consumers can do much more with a gigabit connection coming into the home—and can make the most of that fast connection with gigabit, or even multi-gigabit Wi-Fi inside the home. Another step in the Wi-Fi continuum is 802.11ad, or 11ad.

11ad uses a new part of the Wi-Fi spectrum (the 60GHz band) to deliver unprecedented wireless speeds up to 7Gbps. It is ideal for streaming large media files and providing fast connectivity. 11ad will enable users to store and retrieve data-intensive files, such as videos and graphics, much more quickly—from the cloud or from local storage devices.

At this year’s South by Southwest Interactive Festival (SXSW), Qualcomm Atheros, Inc., a subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated, is demonstrating a prototype Wi-Fi access point utilizing 11ad technology connected through Google Fiber. As fiber-to-the-home broadband access becomes more widely available, Qualcomm VIVE 11ad technology provides ultra-fast wireless connectivity to help customers make the most of over-the-top and distributed entertainment services.

Why is this exciting? Because of its ultra-fast speed, 11ad has the potential to transform the way people access, enjoy and share media content over their home networks. For example, 802.11ad allows users to download an entire feature-length 4K movie in only three minutes, and stream it to one or more screens within a home.

“Access to the cloud using 802.11ad furthers the vision of a completely wireless entertainment center without cables or connectors between displays, printers, speakers, storage devices and other peripherals,” said Cormac Conroy, vice president, Qualcomm Atheros, Inc. “Showcasing 11ad connected through Google Fiber demonstrates to consumers what their connectivity may be like in future.”


Qualcomm VIVE is a product of Qualcomm Atheros, Inc.


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Laurie Falconer

Sr. Manager, Marketing