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CES Feature Articles

January 11, 2012

Broadcom's 802.11ac Chips, Presented at CES, Will Be Included in Laptops Later This Year

Broadcom (News - Alert) used the Consumer Electronics Show to present 802.11ac chips, which will be used for diverse kinds of devices starting toward the end of 2012.

Broadcom wants the chips to be known as the new industry standard of “5G Wi-Fi,” according to TMCnet.

On a practical level for consumers, the chips will let users get better range for wireless in their homes, leading to better viewing of video. Users will also see faster speed for loading web content on a mobile device, according to the company. In fact, Broadcom claims in a recent press release that the IEEE (News - Alert) 802.11ac chips are three times quicker and six times more efficient in energy use than the older 802.11n.

The new chips are being presented as demand is jumping for consuming digital content. Video content will be about 90 percent of consumer traffic worldwide, Broadcom said, citing data from Cisco (News - Alert). Concurrently, more Internet traffic is heading to wireless networks. This heightened demand on older networks is leading to “deteriorated performance, choppy videos and slower load times,” Broadcom said.

"The exponential growth of digital media and wirelessly connected devices requires faster and more reliable ways to connect anytime, anywhere,” Michael Hurlston, senior vice president of Broadcom’s Mobile & Wireless Group, said. “5G Wi-Fi solves this media explosion challenge.”

In commenting on the 802.11ac, Mark Hung, research director, Wireless, Gartner (News - Alert) Research, said it “will be one of the most influential mobile and wireless technologies in the years to come."

"Wi-Fi-enabled devices will grow from less than 1 billion units in 2010 to more than 3 billion in 2015,” Hung added. “Given the current constraints of legacy 802.11 standards and the increased speed, capacity, coverage and battery life that 802.11ac offers, this next generation of Wi-Fi is poised for rapid growth across all product segments.”

The new 5G is particularly well-suited for Asia, adds Julian Chu, senior analyst, Market Intelligence & Consulting Institute (MIC), Taiwan. "802.11ac will be especially beneficial in this region where materials such as concrete are common in buildings and offer unique challenges to delivering reliable Wi-Fi coverage,” Chu was quoted in the Broadcom statement.  “We anticipate that the innovations reducing dead spots and improving reliability throughout the home will appeal to consumers and will help drive rapid adoption of the technology."

In its review of the new Broadcom chips, ZDNet reported that “Broadcom is promising us that the first 801.11ac chipsets will bring us Gigabit wireless speeds without any cables at all.” The new chips are being said to be able to provide speeds as high as 1.3 Gigabits per second (Gbps).

Residential products with IEEE 802.11ac adapters will be offered during 2012, according to ZDNet. “They will begin appearing in laptops and notebooks for the Christmas 2012 selling season,” ZDNet adds. Meanwhile, tablets and mobile phones may start being sold with the IEEE 802.11ac chips during 2013.

In addition, in applications at businesses the new standard is likely to “replace older Wi-Fi equipment and fixed cable networks,” ZDNet predicts.

Broadcom is offering 5G Wi-Fi to Original Equipment Manufacturers, retail partners, service providers and carriers.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO East 2012, taking place Jan. 31-Feb. 3 2012, in Miami, FL. ITEXPO (News - Alert) offers an educational program to help corporate decision makers select the right IP-based voice, video, fax and unified communications solutions to improve their operations. It's also where service providers learn how to profitably roll out the services their subscribers are clamoring for – and where resellers can learn about new growth opportunities. For more information on registering for ITEXPO registration click here.

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Ed Silverstein is a TMCnet contributor. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Rich Steeves

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