Oct 16, 2018
Qualcomm products mentioned within this post are offered by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.
By tapping into the power of the 60 GHz mmWave band, Qualcomm Technologies is making “5G-era experiences” happen sooner than you might think. Our new portfolio of 60 GHz 802.11ay Wi-Fi solutions is capable of 10+ gigabits per second throughput at an industry leading power profile and include unique Wi-Fi sensing capabilities. As such, these products are primed to take fixed wireless access, mobile gaming, extended reality (XR) and sensing to a new era of immersive experiences.
The 60 GHz Wi-Fi advantage
60 GHz is the third band of Wi-Fi, along with 2.4 and 5 GHz, and recent innovation is getting people excited about the opportunities to enhance existing experiences (e.g., video streaming, file uploads/downloads, etc.) and create new ones (e.g., mobile screen casting to TV, untethered VR, wireless backhaul, gesturing & device control, location & proximity tracking, face ID and more). Like its cellular cousin, 5G mmWave, 60 GHz Wi-Fi harnesses mmWave spectrum of up to 14 GHz. 60 GHz benefits from little to no interference to support the next level of connected indoor and outdoor experiences.
New chapter for mobile gaming
One of the big 60 GHz Wi-Fi stories in 2018 was the ASUS ROG Phone launch with optimizations targeted at extreme gaming experiences. The ROG Phone takes mobile gaming to the big screen of your TV for wireless device-to-device screen casting (using the ROG Phone’s wireless display receiver) – 60 GHz Wi-Fi is a critical enabler of this use case in order to provide reliable, wire equivalent latency/ high responsiveness on the wireless link without compromising video quality or play time. When combined with powerful 60 GHz Wi-Fi gaming routers, like the Netgear Nighthawk X10 AD7200, gamer’s dreams are coming true with exceptional online gaming performance.
ASUS initially set itself apart from the competition by being the first to introduce 60 GHz Wi-Fi capabilities into a smartphone with its ASUS ZenFone 4 Pro. With the ZenFone, ASUS uniquely matched Gigabit LTE speeds on the WAN side with multi-gigabit throughput on the WLAN front with 60 GHz Wi-Fi. As we transition to the 5G era one can expect a new category of devices leveraging 5G speeds and latencies in combination with 60 GHz 802.11ay, to get the best of both worlds.
New experiences via 60 GHz Wi-Fi “Sensing”
60 GHz Wi-Fi Sensing is a clear example of taking wireless beyond speeds and feeds. Think of this sensing capability as a precision depth sensor on steroids. As a sensor, the 60 GHz chipset is a rich data source of contextual information around it. When combined with signal processing and machine learning techniques one can enable proximal presence and room-scale depth, identify objects, movements and precise location. This capability can be harnessed for gesture recognition, enhancing security by augmenting camera-based face ID solutions with a unique biometric modality. It can also be used for improving visual SLAM (simultaneous localization and mapping) solutions for robotics applications.
VR and AR have the potential to disrupt how people interact with their environments and content, and mobility is going to be needed for the experiences to reach their full potential in both consumer and enterprise use cases. For VR, 60 GHz Wi-Fi checks all the boxes: 1) Multi-Gigabit speeds capable of massive data exchange as the resolutions move from approximately 2k per eye to 4k per eye with higher frame rates in the coming year; 2) Wire-equivalent wireless latencies enable truly immersive VR experiences; 3) Long battery life resulting from rapid and efficient data transfers and; 4) Augmenting camera based gestures and hand tracking at very low power.
Enterprise productivity and cable-replacement
Offices are wired, and those wires come at a huge expense. A single conference room may have thousands of dollars’ worth of wires for connectivity and display projection (not to mention a complicated key-ring of wired adapters). By capitalizing on 60 GHz Wi-Fi, an IT manager can build out an all-wireless conference room with wireless docking for connectivity and screen casting, as well as wirelessly connect employees at their desks with multi-gigabit speeds, avoiding the physical limitations or aesthetic implications of running new wires.
While fiber offers a great alternative to copper-based networks that are limited in throughput, ROI for a large-scale fiber deployment in a dense urban or rural environment has proven to be challenging for many service providers. Qualcomm Technologies’ 60 GHz Wi-Fi solutions are targeted to address this gap by enabling gigabit backhaul capacity in the 5G era for small cells, video surveillance and data hungry use cases like fixed wireless access. As an example, Mikrotik’s Wireless Wire product provides reliable full-duplex gigabit links over 200 meters. Furthermore, in coordination with Facebook, Qualcomm Technologies is supporting 802.11ay based wireless backhaul mesh solutions under the broader umbrella of the Terragraph project. Such solutions hold the potential to help reduce the cost of providing high quality connectivity in emerging markets.
The wireless industry is evolving and Qualcomm Technologies’ expanded portfolio of 60 GHz Wi-Fi solutions using mmWave spectrum with 11ay enhancements, including support for 10+ gigabits per second and Wi-Fi sensing are prime examples of how Qualcomm Technologies is helping transform how the world connects, computes and communicates. It also demonstrates our commitment to enabling new experiences beyond what was once thought to be practical. Smartphone, consumer electronics, and networking manufacturers, as well as app developers and CIOs, can now harness the power of multi-gigabit throughputs at wire-equivalent latency and unleash the power of 60 GHz Wi-Fi sensing to bring about a new era of connected experiences across a diverse set of use cases. Quite a few companies have already demonstrated early leadership by implementing 60 GHz Wi-Fi from Qualcomm Technologies in their products — expect to see more news about 60 GHz Wi-Fi as the technology moves to mainstream.