Faster WiFi is on a lot of wish lists, and today Qualcomm announced a line of chips for all sorts of consumer electronics that the company claims will achieve 1.3 Gigabit-per-second speeds over wireless. Qualcomm's plans for mobile, desktop, and router gigabit-speed wireless chips will most likely be compliant with the brand-new 802.11ac wireless standards to be ratified by the IEEE this year. There is a chance, however, that the IEEE will ratify a standard with slight changes that could prevent the phones, routers, and computers of early adopters from being interoperable with future 802.11ac products.
The upcoming 802.11ac wireless standard finally dispenses with transmitting data on overcrowded 2.4GHz channels, and uses channels on the higher end of the 5GHz band of spectrum, refining the current 802.11n standard, which used both. Qualcomm's new products will also be capable of beam-forming, which focuses transmitted signals to a device requesting information. Since signals sent over higher-end spectrum also tend to be less reliable, beam-forming will play a key role in the success of the new standard. "The real benefit comes to a mobile device, and you can actually steer the signal to a mobile device," said Qualcomm's Senior Director of Product Management, Tim Peters.