Wi-Fi speeds may soon easily surpass consumer-level wired networking, according to wireless manufacturer Quantenna Communications. The company this week unveiled plans to release a new Wi-Fi chipset in 2015 that can reach a theoretical maximum of 10 gigabits per second, nearly eight times faster than the maximum theoretical speed offered by current 802.11ac Wi-Fi implementations.
Quantenna plans to achieve these new speeds by introducing an eight antenna multiple-input/multiple-output (8×8 MIMO) design. Many of today’s 802.11ac routers and devices support only 3×3 MIMO, for a total of about 1.3Gbps (with some 4×4 MIMO designs reaching 1.7Gbps). Quantenna’s new 10 gigabit Wi-Fi will still support 802.11ac, but its increased number of antennas, as well as design and efficiency improvements, will result in drastically faster bandwidth.
Such a breakthrough will be especially important for small businesses and consumers. Standard wired networking currently tops out at 1Gbps Ethernet. Faster networking options exist, such as 10-gigabit Ethernet (10GbE) and Thunderbolt, but they are either cost-prohibitive in the case of the former, or limited to short distances in the case of the latter. A wireless option that offers bandwidth far in excess of current 1Gbps Ethernet would therefore be significant to home networking applications and businesses alike.
The drawback? The future chipset currently planned by Quantenna will be too power-hungry to support mobile, battery powered devices. It’s also likely to be expensive at first, so while the company has plans for the tech to eventually make it into consumer-targeted devices, expect to see the first round or two of products aimed squarely at enterprise customers.