Broadcom’s 5G Wi-Fi chips will triple bandwidth for wireless home networking

January 6, 2014 5:00 AM

Broadcom is unveiling new 5G Wi-Fi chips for home networking devices that can triple the typical bandwidth for wireless Internet access in the home.

The Irvine, Calif.-based chip maker made the announcement at the 2014 International CES trade show that takes place this week in Las Vegas.

The new wireless combo chip will make it easier to stream video through routers, gateways, set-top boxes, digital TVs, and game consoles in the home. That’s important as web-based video usage explodes in the home, thanks to video streaming services like Netflix.

Broadcom is providing two new chips for 5G Wi-Fi systems that will help alleviate the logjam in homes as more devices — such as remotes, speakers, and game controllers — use Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. The chips can reduce interference when one person plays an online game and another streams a movie to a tablet or smart TV.

The BCM43569 wireless networking chip lets a smart TV receive both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth signals simultaneously. And Broadcom’s BCM43602 chip offloads a lot of processing from a central processing unit (CPU) for Wi-Fi networking. Both chips support beamforming, or taking advantage of noise to increase available bandwidth.

“As the first company to deliver 5G Wi-Fi across all product segments, Broadcom continues to lead innovation and engineer even more powerful next-generation 5G Wi-Fi products that support today’s content-hungry consumer,” Rahul Patel, vice president of marketing for wireless connectivity combos at Broadcom, told VentureBeat in an interview. “Our new advanced solutions bring consumers an elevated video streaming experience across the wirelessly connected home and provide OEMs with the benefits of improved system cost and form factor.”

“By the end of 2014, 802.11ac is expected to be included in more than 50 percent of total Wi-Fi ICs shipped,” said Phil Solis, research director at market research firm ABI Research. “By maximizing the wireless connectivity performance in connected home devices, Broadcom continues to help drive the industry adoption of 802.11ac technology across all product segments.”

Both chips are available in prototype quantities now.


Cox gears for Consumer Electronics Show crush with installation of 200 temporary Wi-Fi access points

December 19, 2013 | By

Cox Communications has prepared for increased Wi-Fi demand expected at next month’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas by installing 200 temporary Wi-Fi access points from Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO), a top executive at the cable MSO told FierceCable Thursday.

Since winning a contract in September to provide Ethernet, Wi-Fi, 3G and 4G services at the Las Vegas convention center, Cox has also upgraded routers and switches and now has more than 400 routers installed at LVCC, said John Fountain, director of network technology for Cox Business Hospitality Network Las Vegas. The MSO has also connected LVCC to a 10-gigabit fiber ring in the city.

Cox plans for the permanent installation of more than 2,000 Wi-Fi access points next year at LVCC, which is the nation’s third largest convention center. Those access points, which are based on the 802.11AC standard, could potentially allow it to eventually offer Wi-Fi at “multi-gigabit” speeds, Fountain said. As part of its contract, Cox will install a 3G/4G cellular Distributed Antenna System (DAS) at LVCC, but its DAS won’t be in place for CES 2014.

 Cox gears for Consumer Electronics Show crush with installation of 200 temporary Wi Fi access points

CES attendees will be able to access free Wi-Fi at speeds of up to 512 kilobits per second by accessing the “public WiFi” SSID, Fountain said. The MSO is also selling a paid Wi-Fi service to exhibitors and other attendees that are willing to shell out $79.99 for a one-day 1.5 Mbps connection. It’s also offering multi-day premium Wi-Fi packages.Cox supplies Ethernet service to LVCC, which will allow exhibitors to purchase 1-Gig Internet service at CES. “No one has signed up yet for 1-Gig,” Fountain said. But he noted that three-quarters of the orders for 1-Gig connections at CES typically come in the “last two to three weeks” before the convention, which kicks off Jan. 7.

Infonetics: Carrier WiFi Equipment Market Red Hot, Up 53% in 2012

 Infonetics: Carrier WiFi Equipment Market Red Hot, Up 53% in 2012


Carrier WiFi equipment revenue, including carrier WiFi access points and WiFi hotspot controllers, jumped 53% worldwide in 2012 from 2011Perennial market leader Cisco again led carrier WiFi revenue share in 2012, followed by Ruckus Wireless and Ericsson (News – Alert); all 3 vendors achieved notable year-over-year growthDual mode cellular/WiFi access points began shipping in 2012 and are expected to undergo significant growth as more and more mobile operators build out carrier WiFi networksWhile all world regions are experiencing robust demand for carrier WiFi, Asia Pacific-especially China, Indonesia and India-will be the strongest drivers of growth through 2017Mobile operators are in the midst of a land-grab, rapidly claiming prime small cell locations by deploying carrier WiFi and then later replacing the WiFi access points with dual mode 3G/WiFi and LTE/WiFi small cellsThe global carrier WiFi equipment market is forecast by Infonetics to top $ 3.9 billion by 2017, primarily driven by mobile operators deploying carrier WiFi for data offload

 Infonetics: Carrier WiFi Equipment Market Red Hot, Up 53% in 2012

Wi-Fi |


Xirrus stakes a claim to the Wi-Fi future

The latest Wi-Fi standard, 802.11ac, will bring speeds of more than 1 Gigabit, but as Bruce Miller, VP, Product Marketing at Xirrus, explains to James Atkinson networks need to be deployed in the right way if the challenge of meeting high density usage is to be met

Wi-Fi vendors are just beginning to ship the first products featuring the new 802.11ac Wave 1 standard. It is the first Wi-Fi standard to use the 5GHz unlicensed spectrum band, rather than the 2.4GHz band, which has been used up to now. It will increase speeds from around 400Mbps achieved by the current 802.11n to 1.3Gbps.

Wi-Fi equipment provider Xirrus has not quite got its first generation 802.11ac products out to market yet, but they have been available for pre-order since last year and will be shipping in the next quarter.

Bruce Miller, Vice President, Product Marketing at Xirrus, explains: ‘We announced a deal last year whereby if customers pre-ordered 802.11ac arrays and access points (APs) they could have them at a discount – the same price as our current 802.11n APs, in fact. So, although we won’t be first to market with our products we have already sold hundreds of them.’

Pace of change

Miller notes that Wi-Fi rolls out a new technology every two years and that means new arrays and APs and a correspondingly, new devices appearing on networks. The latest Apple Mac Books are already 802.11ac Wave 1 enabled, for example, but only a few smartphones are 11ac ready at the moment.

‘Replacing hardware every two years is not a good way of doing things, however,’ points out Miller. ‘Some convention centres do have two-year upgrades in their budgets, as they want to be cutting edge and support the latest devices. But most customers do not have the budget to do this of course.’

Nor do they want to go through the hassle of ripping out and replacing their Wi-Fi systems unless and until they have to. Mindful of this, Xirrus has developed a modular approach, which allows you to open up the chassis and swap out the radios inside for the latest technology.

Its XR range of wireless arrays goes from a two radio-slot chassis to a 16 radio-slot chassis. If more radios are needed, the chassis can be replaced with a larger one but using the same site and cable connections.

‘Our platform can therefore support three or four generations of technologies,’ says Miller. ‘You have a switch in a closet that you can slide blades into, so that way we can support a five-year replacement strategy that is about average for most customers. Customers slot into the product line as it suits their requirements and they might wait a generation and jump to another depending where they are in their buying cycle.’

Key features of 802.11ac

The 802.11ac Wave 1 standard was formally certified by the Wi-Fi Alliance in June 2013. It is capable of delivering speeds of 1.3Gbps thanks to the addition of a third spatial stream (3×3 MIMO), a doubling of the channel width from 802.11n’s 40MHz to 80MHz, an increase from 64QAM (quadrature amplitude modulation) to 256QAM, which increases the bit rate density (the way bits are carried within the RF wave), and beamforming technology. Beamforming allows the signal energy to be directed much more tightly resulting in more reliable links between APs and devices.

802.11ac Wave 2 is likely to be certified towards the end of 2014 with products coming to market in 2015. This will add a further fourth spatial stream, allow for 160MHz channels and introduces multi-user MIMO. MU-MIMO is the really clever stuff in that it allows a Wi-Fi array or AP to direct simultaneous transmissions to up to four different clients at full channel data rates.

Supplying broadband via an Ethernet connection is essentially quite simple; each user has their own dedicated connection to the Internet. But in Wi-Fi all the users are sharing the same port, or access point, in this case and somehow they must all be provided with ‘fair access’ and, if possible, a good user experience.

‘This is why Wi-Fi is fundamentally trickier,’ says Miller. ‘Multi-user MIMO is moving towards something like a switch architecture, but in the end it is still a given radio that is sharing that bandwidth, so it won’t fix that problem in the end. Users still have to share that same space at the same time. I won’t be able to talk to 30 devices at the same time with MU-MIMO on one radio – it will be less than that.

‘2015 is where 802.11ac Wave 2 will start to take off and our products will support that given our modularity. But with our solution you can also mix and match different Wi-Fi radio standards and that’s important,’ says Miller.


Ending the headaches of Wi-Fi?

New standards will soon make getting from a carrier’s 3G or 4G network onto a Wi-Fi network a seamless and easy process. But carriers large and small still have to get comfortable with that.

Marguerite Reardon 60x43 Ending the headaches of Wi Fi?

Soon wireless subscribers won’t even have to think about signing on to a Wi-Fi hot spot. New standards that will be included in the latest generation of products will take the headache out of Wi-Fi.

Millions of wireless customers access public Wi-Fi hot spots every day. Some people get free access to Wi-Fi through their mobile operator and use the networks to avoid going over their data caps. Others subscribe to Wi-Fi services to get access to higher-speed data wherever it’s available. Whether you use free Wi-Fi or you subscribe to a service, getting on to whatever Wi-Fi network you are using is not always a simple and easy process. Often you have to search for a hot spot. Then you have to sign in with a username and password. And if it’s a paid hot spot, you have to enter payment credentials.

Now thanks to new technical and roaming standards that have been developed by the wireless industry, wireless users will soon be able to avoid these nuisances. From here on, accessing a Wi-Fi network will be an easy and seamless experience for consumers.

“Seamless connectivity to Wi-Fi is almost here,” said Derek Peterson, senior vice president of engineering for Boingo Wireless, a company that provides a subscription-based service accessing Wi-Fi networks around the world. “What we have right now is not a good experience. And the new standards move us beyond that. And it makes for a great user experience.”

The standards
Earlier this year, the Wi-Fi Alliance began certifying devices under its Passpoint initiative aka Hotspot 2.0. This is a standard that defines the protocols that devices and Wi-Fi access points use to communicate with each other to negotiate a connection. Up until the Passpoint standard was used, wireless subscribers typically had to seek out Wi-Fi networks, select a network and then provide username and password information to get connected to those networks. Usually this step was only necessary the first time a user signed onto a network, but it has still made using Wi-Fi a cumbersome process.

“You may not know whether you’re on a Wi-Fi network or a cellular network. And a carrier might treat this as any other roaming relationship.”

–Derek Peterson, senior VP of engineering, Boingo Wireless


What’s more, because manual authentication was often necessary there was no way to provide service continuity. In other words, you couldn’t start a phone conversation on a 3G wireless network and continue the phone call on a third party’s Wi-Fi network.

The Passpoint standard along with a standard developed by the Wireless Broadband Alliance, called Next Generation Hotspot, allows for a seamless handoff and provides a mechanism for establishing roaming agreements between cellular carriers and Wi-Fi hot spot operators.

The Wireless Broadband Alliance, which has established the standards for creating these roaming partnerships, recently concluded trials of its Next Generation Hotspot standard with some of the biggest wireless operators in the world, including AT&T, T-Mobile, China Mobile, BT, NTT DoCoMo and Orange.

Peterson said carriers will begin deploying the necessary equipment to make this integration starting by the end of this year. And some early adopters will start roaming and adding Wi-Fi integration into their networks next year. But most of the activity will likely happen in 2014, after big network operators such as AT&T get more comfortable with the idea of roaming onto other carriers’ Wi-Fi networks.

Should Enterprises Care About Hotspot 2.0? – The Ruckus Room

 Should Enterprises Care About Hotspot 2.0?   The Ruckus Room

Hotspot 2.0 makes possible links to a huge network of effectively random Wi-Fi access points through a web of interconnections, so that users can enjoy a seamless experience as they move between Wi-Fi networks from almost any location. It achieves this through a revolutionary overhaul of the Wi-Fi connection procedure, automating the manual configuration and decision-making process, as well as effectively automating security through the implementation of advanced WPA-2 airlink securing and client isolation. HS2.0 eliminates the hassle of users fiddling with their devices in order to associate to the hotspot. No more ‘SSID surfing’ or having to ask the barista for the Wi-Fi passphrase.

While HS2.0 has been developed and promoted predominately by carriers and equipment suppliers, it will have its greatest impact and appeal within the enterprise. That’s what will make it a game-changer.

HS2.0 will be about much more than the technology enablement of a better mobile user experience – it will shift relationships between carriers and building owners; those who want to provide the uninterrupted service as part of their continued strategy to deliver better subscriber experiences, and those who own the locations essential for providing the continuity of service. This commercial/cultural shift, combined with an important leap forward technologically is going to give HS2.0 its place in the Wi-Fi hall of fame.

Carriers are excited by the prospect of Hotspot 2.0 (HS2.0) not least because it takes many of today’s manual Wi-Fi tasks, like authentication, and automates them; it lets users roam without hassle and network operators to focus on more important…

 Should Enterprises Care About Hotspot 2.0?   The Ruckus Room

Wi-Fi |

NYC food trucks use Karma’s social mesh to become Wi-Fi hotspots on wheels – GigaOM

 NYC food trucks use Karmas social mesh to become Wi Fi hotspots on wheels   GigaOM

NYC food trucks use Karma’s social mesh to become Wi-Fi hotspots on wheels
New York City food trucks are adding a new item to their menus: free Wi-Fi.

 NYC food trucks use Karmas social mesh to become Wi Fi hotspots on wheels   GigaOM

Wi-Fi |

Cisco wades deeper into small cell waters with $310M Ubiquisys purchase

 Cisco wades deeper into small cell waters with $310M Ubiquisys purchase

Another month, another big acquisition to bolster Cisco’s portfolio for mobile carriers. This time it’s Ubiquisys, the highly-rated purveyor of small cells, SON technology and other operator-focused treats….

“As carriers around the world increase cellular data capacity to serve the rapidly growing population of smartphone and tablet users, adding small cells is one of the most cost-effective ways to multiply data capacity and make better use of scarce spectrum assets. Ubiquisys’ indoor small cells expertise and its focus on intelligent software for licensed 3G and LTE spectrum, coupled with Cisco’s mobility portfolio and its Wi-Fi expertise, will enable a comprehensive small cell solution to service providers that supports the transition to next generation radio access networks”

 Cisco wades deeper into small cell waters with $310M Ubiquisys purchase

WiFi News by WiFiNovation |

T-Mobile debuts data plan specifically for Audi connected cars

T-Mobile USA announced a new data plan specifically for Audi drivers that use the company's Connect service. The plan, which is offered to new and existing owners of cars equipped with Audi Connect, allows owners to pay $ 450 for data services for 30 months, which equals $ 15 per month, or pay $ 30 per month if they select the month-to-month option.

Audi Connect service lets users access real-time news, weather and fuel prices. In addition, it lets drivers connect to Google Earth and Google Voice. The service also provides Wi-Fi service throughout the vehicle for up to eight devices.

Audi has been aggressive in its connected car efforts. The company was the first to offer in-vehicle Wi-Fi connectivity when it launched Audi Connect in 2011. Audi plans to have 1 million connected Audi vehicles worldwide by 2015.

Further, the overall connected car space is becoming a lot more competitive. In February, General Motors announced it will replace Verizon Wireless' (NYSE:VZ) service with AT&T Mobility's (NYSE:T) service in its OnStar offering beginning in 2014. At that time, GM will incorporate LTE into most of its vehicles.

Mary Chan, vice president of global connected consumer for GM, told FierceWireless that one of the reasons the company selected AT&T was that it wanted a partner that would offer flexibility in terms of pricing models. Although GM has not revealed how it will price its LTE-powered OnStar service, Chan said the company is looking at different pricing structures across several tiers. For example, a driver could pay one price to receive remote diagnostics for their car and then pay a different price if they want additional options.  

For more:
- see this release

Related Articles:
AT&T's LTE service to replace Verizon in GM's OnStar
GM's Chan: VoLTE to be a primary component of the connected car
AT&T's LTE service to replace Verizon in GM's OnStar
Ford reiterates opposition to embedded wireless
Did OnStar contribute to Verizon's 490,000 wholesale customer losses in Q4?
Hold: Auto makers still test driving broadband connections in cars


Report: UK operators will need to trade LTE spectrum to set mobile strategies

The outcome of the UK LTE spectrum auction is under debate as worries surface over the distribution of frequency bands and likely capacity constraints, according to a Financial Times report, which cited unnamed sources.

Emphasising that the results of the spectrum auction will dictate corporate strategies for the next five years, one unnamed auction participant told the FT that "there are some jaw dropping outcomes.

While Vodafone, EE, Telefónica's O2 UK and 3UK were successful in acquiring enough spectrum to deploy LTE services, the bands each operator has obtained were very different to what was expected.

"Some [operators] may struggle with capacity and others have too much of the wrong spectrum. I don't think that the distribution of spectrum is efficient and so I think that there will be trades," said another unnamed source involved in the auction.

Telecoms regulator Ofcom pushed back strongly against this view.  "The auction achieved our stated aim of delivering a highly efficient and competitive outcome in the allocation of LTE spectrum," it told the FT. "This is clearly reflected in the bids that took place during the auction, which we will publish shortly."

The issues revolves around EE's efforts to shift bids away from the highly-sought-after 800 MHz spectrum at a crucial moment in the auction process, resulting in lower prices and an unexpected allocation of the prized spectrum to 3UK.

This tactic, along with other bidding ploys, has left 3UK owning 800 MHz spectrum that it has not worked out how to use, while EE is likely to want more 800 MHz, analysts told the FT, having been left with less than is ideally required for nationwide coverage.

Vodafone is being called the winner of this auction with its aggressive bidding for the 800 MHz band, while Telefónica's O2 UK is viewed by analysts to have lost the chance to boost its spectrum resources, given it will be left with less overall than EE or Vodafone.

Industry observers remain perplexed by what BT will do with its LTE spectrum, having bought much more than expected to cover its stated aims of boosting Wi-Fi coverage across cities and local areas.

For more:
- see this FT article (sub. req.)

Related Articles:
Analysts: UK operators underpaid for LTE spectrum, for a variety of reasons
UK LTE spectrum auction draws £2.34B, below government expectations
Analyst: Vodafone, O2 have most to lose in UK LTE spectrum auction
EE slashes LTE pricing as UK spectrum auction gets underway
Report: UK LTE adoption dependent on price and performance
Analyst: UK LTE spectrum auction may have unexpected winners


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