At Computex today, Qualcomm Atheros announced a few new chipsets, and it seems that as a part of their Ikanos acquisition they’ve entered the wireline business in the hopes of solving capacity issues in the last mile. While fiber should be deployed where possible, in many cases it can be expensive and impractical to run fiber optic cable, such as older apartment complexes. As a result, a 10 Gbps connection can turn into a 100 Mbps connection when using POTS lines for the last few hundred meters depending upon channel conditions and run length.
G.fast or GigaDSL attempts to bridge the gap here by using techniques like self far-end crosstalk cancellation and significantly increased transmission bandwidth to significantly improve channel utilization of existing POTS lines, and the QCO5700 and QCM5720 use these technologies to try and improve bandwidth at the last hundred meters. Unlike previously launched chipsets, these are really designed to enable drop-in replacement for existing VDSL equipment, and are squarely targeted at Asian ISPs that generally have an all-fiber network but may only have POTS in a building. The QCO5700 is designed for multiple dwelling deployments like apartment buildings, while QCM5720 is designed for customer premises equipment and both chipsets can support up to 1Gbps while coexisting with existing services that may also be using the POTS line.
The other notable announcement here is on Atheros’ traditional wireless business, and as a part of trying to get better connectivity for the last few feet in the home. While MU-MIMO is nothing new at this point, QCA is releasing a new tri-radio platform for routers the QCA9886 2x2 802.11ac radio. With three radios, a single router with an IPQ40x9 SoC will be able to support simultaneous 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz, and a third 5 GHz radio for range extender use.
The new GigaDSL chipsets should begin sampling in June, and companies like Sumitomo Electronics, NEC, and Wave Electronics are designing or building products that will utilize the QCO5700 and QCM5720. The new QCA9886 is already sampling to vendors, and should be in routers in the near future.