Qualcomm buys Wilocity to accelerate high speed WiFi chip development
Qualcomm announced on July 2nd that it had acquired Wilocity, a developer of 802.11ad WiGig chips. The companies previously collaborated on WiGig technology, a faster version of Wi-Fi. Qualcomm is integrating the Wilocity technology into its Snapdragon 810 chipsets for mobile devices, hoping to gain a competitive advantage against Broadcom. Qualcomm had previously purchased Atheros Communications in 2011 to get into the WiFi chip business.
Wilocity’s fast gigabit wireless-data capabilities will be included in sample products being shipped to customers, Qualcomm said yesterday in a statement. The company didn’t disclose terms of its purchase of the startup, which is based in Caesarea, Israel.
SoC devices capable of the new higher-speed 802.11ad (Wi Gig) will go on sale next year, said Amir Faintuch, president of Qualcomm’s Atheros division, which has been an investor in Wilocity since 2008.
Sarah Reedy of Light Reading wrote: “Qualcomm is integrating super-fast 60GHz WiFi into its Snapdragon 810 chipsets, a move that it says will advance the entire WiFi ecosystem now that its acquisition of multi-gigabit wireless leader Wilocity is complete.”
“The tri-band reference design based on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 will enable 4K video streaming from the phone to the TV in the home, peer-to-peer content sharing, networking, wireless docking, and instantaneous cloud access.”
Companies like Cisco, Dell, Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), and others plan to use the new integrated chipsets first in the connected home and enterprise. Cormac Conroy, Qualcomm’s VP of product management and engineering, says to expect the Snapdragon 810 platform to start shipping in smartphones and tablets in the second half of the year. He also calls small cells from companies like Cisco a “natural fit,” but those are further down the pipeline.
Sixty Gigahertz is an in-area technology, which means that, while it doesn’t necessarily require line-of-sight, it cannot penetrate walls. It’s ideal for open spaces of any size but can’t cover a whole home on its own. Qualcomm says its tri-band WiFi chips will integrate the multi-gigabit performance of 802.11ad operating in the 60GHz spectrum band with 802.11ac in the 5GHz band and 802.11b/g/n in the 2.4GHz band with handoff in between them to ensure it works everywhere.
“We think this is an important step in our overall vision and mission to deliver high-speed wireless connectivity, mobile computing, and networking,” Conroy says. “This announcement is not just ‘Qualcomm acquires a company.’ The message is Qualcomm and a number of leading partners think 60GHz will be a very important technology across multiple use cases.”
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