Qualcomm made some major announcements today at CES 2016 in Las Vegas that should make an impact over the next few months in the wireless niche of the electronics market. First up, Qualcomm – through its subsidiary Atheros – will be joining the first adaptors to 802.11ad wifi, the latest and fastest wifi standard available in the market today. And with Qualcomm aptX HD, it is also making headway in enabling high resolution audio over Bluetooth wireless connections.
For those of us who just connect and forget to wifi networks, we must remember that a set of standards still govern the speed and security of these wireless networks. We might be familiar with 802.11 a/b/g/n, the last and fastest of which (802.11n) was launched in 2009 and allows data transfers of up to 600 Mbits per second. The new 802.11ad will boast of transfer speeds of up to 7Gbits per second, more than ten times faster than the last standard. Of course, both your router and your device needs to be both 802.11ad capable, and Qualcomm is doing that initially with smartphones from Chinese outfit LEtv, access points and routers from Elecom, NEC and TP-Link, and notebooks from ACER and ASUS. Hopefully the bulk of mobile devices and routers will follow suit as 2016 moves forward.
Qualcomm is also forwarding its aptX HD codec for high resolution audio over Bluetooth wireless connections. Bluetooth speakers and home entertainment systems are beginning to be the norm now, and it will be great if you could actually send and execute high definition audio over such connections. The execution part will be for the speakers, but the sending and transferring part will be the realm of Qualcomm’s aptX HD codec. The codec will be made available by Qualcomm in its new Bluetooth chips and SoC’s, and hopefully will start being standard this 2016.
We have new things to get excited about this year, and faster wifi internet and transfers, and high resolution audio over Bluetooth are just a few of them. Progress will be a bit slow initially, but when the OEMs start jumping on these new technologies, then we will start to experience the benefits of these new tech.