Quantenna announces 8×8 802.11ac Release 2 MU-MIMO chips

Updated: Take everything out there now, double it, and throw in the kitchen sink too

Quantenna logoIf you thought the Qualcomm 4×4 MU-MIMO 802.11ac announcement was impressive, Quantenna just upped the bar to 8×8 which they call 10GbE. As of this moment not much detail was revealed, just a few vague specs and marketing level information.

Quantenna has many 4×4 801.11ac chips on the market with a bunch of customers including Asus. They have been in the 802.11ac game for quite a while and while Qualcomm recently announced their 4×4 MU-MIMO solution, that high bar is now the mid-point of the market. Things do move fast in the Wi-Fi world.

Updated April 14, 2014 @ 4:15pm: It looks like Quantenna was first with a Release 2 MU-MIMO announcement almost a year ago, and is about to ship in an Asus router. I guess Qualcomm wasn’t first.

Quantenna says they were the first to 802.11ac 4×4 with beamforming and while Qualcomm took MU-MIMO first blood, Quantenna hit back with the other two optional 802.11ac Release 2 modes, 4 streams and 160MHz channels. This bumps the theoretical bandwidth from 433MHz per channel to 867MHz and of course there are eight channels. If you don’t have a calculator handy, that would be an aggregate bandwidth of 6.936Gbps.

Sadly Quantenna didn’t give us any details like how many streams this device will support in MU-MIMO mode, if the inputs are 1GbE or 10GbE, and all the details you are probably curious about. There was also no real word about how 8 x .867Gbps = 10Gbps but we can be pretty sure the answer will be something akin to counting duplexed bandwidth. Even if it gets nowhere near the hinted at 10Gbps throughputs, 8×8 MU-MIMO with 160MHz channels should be fast enough for most uses.

All Quantenna is saying on availability is that there will be devices in 2015, something we don’t doubt. The press release seems to hint in places that they are licensing IP which companies like STMicro are building into their SoCs so that extended timeline is understandable. In other places it mentions selling chips so it could go either way, SemiAccurate could not get a clarification before press time. Until more comes out on the specifics, we will just leave it at Quantenna announced the fastest and most spec-complete 802.11ac solution so far.S|A

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Charlie Demerjian

Roving engine of chaos and snide remarks at SemiAccurate
Charlie Demerjian is the founder of Stone Arch Networking Services and SemiAccurate.com. SemiAccurate.com is a technology news site; addressing hardware design, software selection, customization, securing and maintenance, with over one million views per month. He is a technologist and analyst specializing in semiconductors, system and network architecture. As head writer of SemiAccurate.com, he regularly advises writers, analysts, and industry executives on technical matters and long lead industry trends. Charlie is also available through Guidepoint and Mosaic. FullyAccurate