Qualcomm first introduced WiFi and Bluetooth chips with support for WiFi 7 and Bluetooth 5.3. The American chip company thus introduces the next phase in the evolution of wireless networks – with transmission speeds of almost six gigabits in the 6 gigahertz spectrum. As Qualcomm announced at Mobile World Congress 2022, it should be possible to equip the first smartphones, tablets, laptops, and VR headsets with the new FastConnect 7800 wireless LAN solution from the second half of the year. The new radio chip should then be made widely available not only as an independent chip but also as part of new Qualcomm SoCs.
Qualcomm promises that the first Wi-Fi 7-compatible chip from its production will already support the new 802.11be Wi-Fi standard, which has not yet been finalized, and that it will, of course, also be able to take full advantage of the older standards. The chip can achieve transmission data of up to 5.8 gigabits per second in the 6 GHz spectrum. Where a 6 GHz spectrum cannot be used, 4.3 Gbps would be possible.
When required, the FastConnect 7800 can use a spectrum up to 320 megahertz to ensure higher transmission speeds and stability through the multi-link operation. WPA3 encryption is also supported for secure connections, as well as several older versions of encrypted WLAN communications. It should be possible to permanently keep the latency below two milliseconds. Also part of the new platform is support for Bluetooth 5.3 with the ability to use Snapdragon Sound technology, a special game mode with reduced latency, stereo recording, aptX playback, and LE audio.
Qualcomm also advertises that the new WLAN/Bluetooth chip can double the range if needed via two wireless front-ends. Much remains to be done in the WiFi 7 market before the new WiFi platform, which is produced at a scale of 14 nanometers, is used in the first devices. At the moment there are simply no access points that support the new standard, but Qualcomm and other providers will soon come up with the first solutions for this as well. At least, in theory, transmission speeds of up to 40 Gbps should be achievable over WiFi 7.
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