New versions of Wi-Fi expected to boost tablets
Improving tablet Wi-Fi performance is something chip makers and consumer electronics manufacturers are working on by turning to a newer version of Wi-Fi to improve connectivity, according to Michael Hurlston, senior vice president of Broadcom Corp.’s Home and Wireless Networking business unit.
“There is a lot of innovation happening in Wi-Fi right now,” Hurlston said during a panel discussion at the DesignCon 2012 conference. 5G Wi-Fi is being pushed by Broadcom, which is based on the 802.11ac version of the Wi-Fi spec, after it rolled out a new family of chips based on the 802.11ac at the Consumer Electronics show last month. The company promises higher speeds and better reliability than current 802.11n.
5G Wi-Fi, a term Hulston says it is pushing as Wi-Fi has gotten too confusing, will be the fifth generation of Wi-Fi to be rolled out to consumer devices. Hulston also said the average consumer might not realize 802.11ac is the more advanced version of the standard 802.11n as consumers have become accustomed to 3G and 4G wireless terms.
While Broadcom is not the first company to use the 5G Wi-Fie terminology, Hurlston also said other companies have started using it. Next major innovations in Wi-Fi will bring 802.11ad, operating in the 60Ghz band offering speed improvements at the cost of shorter transmission range, Hurlston said. Hurlston labeled 802.ad a “revolution,” as apposed to “evolution” offered by 802.11ac.
Hurlston later added that while some companies may have chips supporting 802.11ad available this year, Broadcom believes the market is not yet ready for them, and expects adoption for 802.11ad to be in the next few years. ”The whole industry is kind of moving to support a better experience for the tablet with these standards-based products,” Hurlston said.