First Integrated 802.11ax-ready Solution with Advanced Security Features for Smartphones

Qualcomm has unveiled the industry’s first integrated 2x2 802.11ax-ready solution for smartphones, tablets and notebooks. The new offering, WCN3998, brings the most critical features of 11ax to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) before full standardization and certification. The solution for client devices will significantly increase security through support of the WPA3 security protocol, making Qualcomm the first company to implement advance security features in 11ax solutions.

The WCN3998 will also enhance the Wi-Fi experience, by doubling the network throughput and reducing Wi-Fi power consumption by up to 67 percent, as compared to previous generation 11ac Wave-2 solutions. The next generation 802.11ax standard is designed to improve the client user experience in two key ways: First, despite the congestion created by the exponential growth of Wi-Fi connected devices 11ax delivers higher throughput to each user, even in typical dense environments; Secondly, optimizing power consumption to enhance use time of battery operated devices.

While the industry is navigating this significant standards transition, the WCN3998 solution offers OEMs a balanced pre-standard approach that is designed to fully leverage the capabilities of existing networks, avoid interoperability issues and provide the high-value 11ax features that address the real-world challenges of our customers, paving the way for a smooth transition when the 11ax certification program is available.

The WCN3998 features advanced 8x8 sounding, providing up to 2x increase in network capacity when compared to other devices only supporting 4x4 sounding. It can improve the connectivity experience for virtually all users, through its downlink MU-MIMO that is designed to allow multiple users to be simultaneously connected to an access point. Qualcomm has more than 1,500 device design wins for its MU-MIMO client solutions. Specific optimizations such as the Target Wait Time (TWT) and other power-saving features maximize sleep cycles and minimize contention resulting in up to 67 percent reduction in power consumption. Most importantly, the solution supports pre-draft 11ax Access Points (APs) that are targeted to be deployed in late 2018 and early 2019 and is designed to be fully backward compatible. It is designed to also provide throughput increases even with previous generation 11ac Wave-2 solutions, and it works with multi-vendor devices to provide a virtually seamless user experience.

Additionally, the WCN3998 supports WPA3 encryption, the latest and most secure protocol announced by the Wi-Fi Alliance that provides robust protection of user passwords and stronger privacy in Wi-Fi networks. As both the intensity and sophistication of security attacks continue to rise today, this advanced security capability is critical in protecting the ever-increasing volume and sensitivity of data traffic on today’s networks. WPA3 encryption in the WCN3998 supports robust security protections even when users choose their Wi-Fi passwords that fall short of common complexity recommendations. These advanced security features are designed to enable consumers to use their smartphones to quickly configure their IoT devices to work on their home network. When using devices in public or open networks, users will also enjoy stronger data privacy protections, by receiving individual user encryption.

Beyond traditional Wi-Fi networking, today’s platforms are also increasingly differentiating on high quality audio and voice as a primary user interface. To intersect with these emerging needs, the Bluetooth core in WCN3998 has been completely re-engineered to anticipate the forthcoming 5.1 standard, which is expected to support many Extended Data Rate and Low Energy Mode operational modes. When paired with a device based on the Qualcomm’s QCC5100 Low Power Bluetooth SoC, announced at CES 2018, it is designed to enable the next generation of “true wireless” Bluetooth headsets that eliminate wires, improve audio robustness and quality, improve the user experience, and improve battery life by up to 75 percent. The design additionally anticipates future enhancements to Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) that will further expand capabilities to a broader set of devices and differentiated applications.

The WCN3998 solution is targeted to sample to customers in the second quarter of 2018.


  • Country: United States
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