Broadcom Joins The 4×4 AC Fight Club

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Tim Higgins

CES logoUpdated – Broadcom announced its 4×4 AC solution at CES 2015.

Broadcom finally joined Quantenna and Qualcomm to offer a 4×4 MU-MIMO capable chipset. The BCM4366 incorporates multiple 802.11ac Wave 2 features, including a MU-MIMO.

For retail Wi-Fi routers, the BCM4366 is coupled with the BCM47094 network processor SoC, which has a 1.4 GHz dual core ARM processor and USB 3.0 with 100 MB/s USB storage performance

The new offerings also include the BCM53573 and BCM47189 dual-band 2×2 5G WiFi SoCs for lower cost mid-range residential routers, wireless repeaters, power line and MOCA Wi-Fi bridges. These two new SoCs integrate a 2×2 802.11ac radio on a single chip with a CPU and Ethernet switch.

Broadcom logo

Of course, the perpetrator of the "TurboQAM" technology that quickly moved the AC Wi-Fi bar from AC1750 to AC1900 for top-shelf routers had to have something to make router makers look at its way-late-to-market 4×4 AC solution. That something appears to be NitroQAM modulation, which could be behind the unusually high top speeds D-Link is claiming for its just-announced DIR-895L/R AC5300 and DIR-885L/R AC3100 ULTRA Wi-Fi Routers.

Updated 1/5/15 – NitroQAM implements 1024-QAM, a 4x increase over the old top 256-QAM 802.11ac modulation rate.

Other features of the BCM4366 5G WiFi 4×4 MU-MIMO radio chip include:

  • Capable of 8×8 5G WiFi XStream configuration with 8 client MU-MIMO support
  • Dedicated hardware for enhancing video distribution while maintaining best-in-class data performance
  • Enhanced receiver performance in the presence of interference for better range
  • Enables 160MHz aggregation for mobile devices taking upload and download speeds to the next level
  • Zero Wait DFS allows access points to connect to more 5 GHz channels and achieve higher capacity to deliver better performance

Feature bullets for the BCM53573 and BCM47189 2×2 AC SoCs:

  • Integrated 2×2/1+1 5G WiFi with CPU, FE switch and USB
  • Concurrent frequency operation in 2.4 and 5 GHz bands for routers
  • High performance ARM CPU & PCIe to enable handling simultaneous dual-band 5G WiFi
  • RGMII to enable GigE
  • iPA and ePA support

Everything is currently sampling.

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