OnQ Blog

MWC: Wi-Fi 6 goes mobile with smartphone design wins and new full-featured mobile SoC [video]

Feb 25, 2019

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

The next generation of Wi-Fi is here — Wi-Fi 6. Qualcomm Technologies is changing the game with this latest breakthrough in connectivity by going above and beyond standards specifications to dramatically enhance user experiences with advancements in speed, latency, coverage, and capacity. Coupled with significant improvements in battery efficiency and a suite of Wi-Fi security protocols based on WPA3, we are aiming to set a new bar by which all other solutions will be measured.

At MWC19 Barcelona, we delivered Wi-Fi 6 to the world in two groundbreaking ways: First, we announced Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Mobile Platform-based devices with our WCN3998 chipset integrated to support key Wi-Fi 6 features, and second, we provided our distinctive view of what our full-featured Wi-Fi 6 mobile SoC looks like, ready for standard certification later this year.

“Our 30 years of technical expertise in mobile networks and our unique culture of innovation helps us develop the most advanced version of our Wi-Fi and to realize the full potential of Wi-Fi 6.”Dino Bekis, VP & GM, Mobile/Compute Connectivity, Qualcomm Technologies

What is Wi-Fi 6?

Wi-Fi 6, the sixth generation of Wi-Fi that’s based on the 802.11ax specification, is a cousin of sorts to 5G. Both these massive leaps in connectivity technology are designed not only in response to the global macro-trends of skyrocketing data and low-latency demands of today’s mobile experiences, but also to help usher in a new decade of possibilities for how we connect and interact with each other, our devices, and the world around us.

As users continue to add more connected devices to their networks, and many of those devices support a new-class of bandwidth hungry applications such as augmented or virtual reality (AR/VR), the importance of Wi-Fi 6 will become more pronounced. Wi-Fi 6 is a powerful tool designed to deliver reliable and high-speed performance to more devices in more places. 

Our 30 years of technical expertise in mobile networks and our unique culture of innovation helps us develop the most advanced version of our Wi-Fi and to realize the full potential of Wi-Fi 6.

Qualcomm Technologies’ approach to Wi-Fi 6

Wi-Fi 6 for Mobile: a new generation of wireless performance

Feb 26, 2019 | 1:00

Wi-Fi 6-ready Snapdragon Mobile Platforms

With the rapid adoption of our Wi-Fi 6-based networking platforms, we were also driven to ensure all users could enjoy the benefits of Wi-Fi 6 on their smartphones in the same time frame. For this reason, we accelerated support for some key Wi-Fi 6 features on our Wi-Fi 6-ready 2x2 WCN3998 chipset, well ahead of the standards timeline. As we announced at the Snapdragon Tech Summit last December, this chipset is an important part of the Snapdragon 855 Mobile Platform, giving it access to Wi-Fi 6 advancements for extended capacity, range and performance (8-stream sounding MU-MIMO), power efficiency (Target Wake Time) and Advanced Security (WPA3).

An assortment of these first Snapdragon 855 phones designed to support both 5G and Wi-Fi 6 features are being launched at MWC19 Barcelona. And while Snapdragon 855 devices were the first for Qualcomm Technologies, you can expect these capabilities to appear on other Snapdragon Mobile Processors in the future with our 2x2 WCN3998 and 1x1 WCN3988 Wi-Fi 6-ready chipsets.  

Blazing the trail to full-featured Wi-Fi 6

Our MWC19 Barcelona announcement of the Qualcomm QCA6390 Connectivity SoC for Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1 unveiled the next leap forward. This SoC builds on our previous capabilities with additional support for the full set of Wi-Fi 6 features, and in most cases, our implementation goes far beyond what is required by the standard.

Most notably, this new flagship Wi-Fi 6 SoC offers our customers and end users:

  • Gigabit-class with peak speeds approaching 1.8 Gbps, redefining mobile user experiences
    • Supporting features: 1024 QAM in both bands along with Dual Band Simultaneous capability
  • Higher capacity and efficiency to support many more devices
    • Supporting features: 8-stream sounding and OFDMA and multi-generational, field-proven MU-MIMO
  • Long-range performance for improved experiences at the edge of the network
    • Supporting features: Enhanced utilization of 2.4 GHz band, and 8-stream sounding
  • Power efficiency for a longer battery life
    • Supporting features: Target Wake Time, advanced architectural enhancements and 14nm process node technology
  • WPA3: the broadest and most secure protocol suite available
    • Supporting features: WPA3 Personal, Enterprise, Enhanced Open, and Easy Connect
  • Bluetooth advancements that support wireless ear buds with increased range, improved audio quality, and longer battery life
    • Supporting features: Bluetooth 5.1 and Qualcomm Technologies enhancements for link resilience, audio quality, and power efficiency, all while only requiring a single antenna

In total, this rich set of features provide a unique and high-performance toolkit for our customers and application developers to leverage as they continue to innovate and revolutionize mobile connectivity experiences into the next decade. 

Qualcomm Wi-Fi 6 series for the 5G era

With smartphones that include Qualcomm Technologies’ advanced implementation of Wi-Fi 6 features such as 8-stream sounding, power saving features and full suite of WPA3 security, we’re are providing new Wi-Fi capabilities that customers can broadly enjoy today. Adding to our latest feature-rich QCA6390 Wi-Fi 6 SoC, we expect our customers to continue to be ahead of the curve in delivering Wi-Fi 6 performance for a new era of connected experiences well into the future.

It takes more than just providing a single technology into a device platform to create a compelling user experience. It takes a system-level design and development approach to bring together expertise that spans decades and multiple technologies — from licensed to unlicensed spectrum and across mobile and infrastructure products — and establish a strong foundation of platform performance and coexistence optimization across Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, LTE, and 5G. It takes experience in delivering multiple generations of technology innovation to our mobile and computing customers that, in turn, enable them to innovate and grow on top of the foundation of our inventions. It takes Qualcomm Technologies.

Expect to see Qualcomm Technologies’ Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity solutions to continue to amaze and be at the heart of the devices you love.

Qualcomm Snapdragon, WCN3998, WCN3988, and Qualcomm QCA6390 are products of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.


Opinions expressed in the content posted here are the personal opinions of the original authors, and do not necessarily reflect those of Qualcomm Incorporated or its subsidiaries ("Qualcomm"). Qualcomm products mentioned within this post are offered by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries. The content is provided for informational purposes only and is not meant to be an endorsement or representation by Qualcomm or any other party. This site may also provide links or references to non-Qualcomm sites and resources. Qualcomm makes no representations, warranties, or other commitments whatsoever about any non-Qualcomm sites or third-party resources that may be referenced, accessible from, or linked to this site.

Dino Bekis

‎VP & GM - Mobile & Compute Connectivity, Qualcomm Technologies