Today, the majority of wireless internet connectivity inside the home and the enterprise is enabled with the 802.11n protocol. In 2013, that's likely to start to shift to the next-generation 802.11ac standard, thanks in part to new silicon from Qualcomm Atheros.
With 802.11n, Wi-Fi bandwidth tops out at approximately 500 Mbps. The 802.11ac standard doubles that, providing 1Gbps or more of wireless bandwidth. Qualcomm Atheros' new StreamBoost technology leverages the Qualcomm VIVE 802.11ac silicon and will be demonstrated in consumer devices at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show.
According to Qualcomm, VIVE on its own can deliver up to 1.3 Gbps of bandwidth operating in the 5GHz spectrum. StreamBoost goes beyond just the core 802.11ac standard to optimize the wireless experience.
StreamBoost is a cloud-based services platform that works in concert with the user's router, detecting devices and applications. Based on that intelligence StreamBoost then can be used to optimize the network for the given application and device. The StreamBoost interface enables users to see application and device bandwidth usage in real-time.
"In the practical use case of a connected home, bandwidth will always be limited, but intelligent network management helps address this," stated Dan Rabinovitsj, senior vice president and general manager, networking business unit, Qualcomm Atheros. "We created Qualcomm StreamBoost to recognize and optimally allocate network traffic, providing users with the best Internet performance possible on all connected devices—right out of the box."
The initial vendors that are joining Qualcomm for the StreamBoost debut at CES include D-Link Systems and Dell's Alienware division.
"StreamBoost gives us a way to make sure every person using the network will have an optimal experience, regardless of application usage," Dan Kelley, associate vice president of marketing, D-Link Systems, Inc. stated.
802.11ac isn't just for consumers either. Networking giant Cisco Systems announced its entrant into the 802.11ac space in October for the Aironet 36000 series routers.