Qualcomm’s WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1 Ushers in a New Era of Computing Technology

As Mobile World Congress 2019 gets underway, Qualcomm Technologies announced their new Qualcomm QCA6390 Connectivity system-on-a-chip (SoC.) This is the company’s most advanced integrated offering yet and it promises to provide improved Wi-Fi and Bluetooth performance on both mobile and computing devices.

Qualcomm’s WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1 Ushers in a New Era of Computing Technology

As Qualcomm notes, “the QCA6390 is a 14nm integrated SoC and the first to fully support both Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1.” The new SoC was designed to address rapidly growing connectivity demands by delivering faster speeds, increased security, and stronger connection strength. In addition to a more robust Wi-Fi experience, it also makes it possible to leverage new Bluetooth audio capabilities. These include ultra-high-definition voice and low-latency gaming over wireless headphones, earbuds, and speakers. In other words, as the world of mobile tech continues to increasingly depend on fast, strong wireless signals for both data and audio, this new offering will not only meet but exceed current expectations and demands.

The new QCA6390 is a high performance, full-featured, Wi-Fi 6 certifiable mobile SoC that provides, “superior connection speed, efficiency, range, power consumption, security, and more.” Some of the key features include:

  • Speeds approaching 1.8 Gbps: The new SoC provides the highest throughput of any comparable smartphone chipset to date.
  • Band Simultaneous (DBS) operation: It delivers high-efficiency across more connected devices.
  • 8-Stream sounding: This allows Wi-Fi 6 mobile and computing devices to take full advantage of the growing base of 8×8 MU-MIMO Wi-Fi 6 Access Points being commercially deployed.
  • Ultra-Long-Range Performance: The QCA6390 delivers improved experiences at the edge of the network.
  • Extended Range: The QCA6390 provides up to double the throughput performance and up to 50 percent extended range and coverage compared to Wi-Fi 5 mobile devices.
  • Smaller footprint and longer battery life: The QCA6390’s 14nm process node combined with advanced power-management architecture provides up to 50 percent improvement in power efficiency, compared to previous generation solutions.
  • Target Wake-up Time (TWT): The QCA6390 supports up to 67 percent lower power consumption for streaming, Wi-Fi calling and other network intensive applications.
  • Broadest and most secure protocol suite available: The QCA6390’s WPA3 support goes far beyond baseline requirements, with all optional and mandatory elements of the latest Wi-Fi Security protocol (WPA-3), including WPA3-Personal, WPA3-Enterprise, WPA3-Enhanced Open and WPA3-Easy Connect supported.

Qualcomm’s WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1 Ushers in a New Era of Computing Technology

Dino Bekis, vice president and general manager, mobile and computer connectivity notes,

“The Qualcomm QCA6390 Connectivity SoC sets a new industry benchmark by marrying state- of the art Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1 capabilities with extended features and leading-edge design.”

He continues,

As consumer expectations for always-on, flawless streaming video and crystal-clear audio everywhere continue to dramatically grow, these applications face increasing challenges with respect to battery life, data rates, range and security. The QCA6390 reflects our continuing commitment to leadership in the 5G era by delivering low-power resilient multi-gigabit connectivity with unprecedented range and Qualcomm Technologies’ best-in-class security.

The success of the new SoC is all-but-guaranteed since Qualcomm is working closely with major tech companies like Microsoft to deliver this next-generation connectivity technology. Erin Chapple, corporate vice president, platforms engineering, Microsoft Corporation drives this point home stating,

Microsoft is excited to be working with Qualcomm Technologies on Wi-Fi 6, allowing more Windows customers to benefit from the latest improvements in security, speed, and robustness of Wi-Fi networks as part of the rich suite of connectivity support already available in Windows.

Other major tech companies waxing poetic about the new SoC include Facebook, Vivo, and Verizon. For its part, Verizon notes that,

As 5G evolves and connectivity demands continue to grow, consumers expect Wi-Fi performance to keep pace with mobile performance and deliver the same experiences. The new Wi-Fi 6 standard and QCA6390 from Qualcomm will support the experiences that Verizon customers will expect.

It is worth noting that, in the past, once new connectivity standards were fully developed it would still take three to four years before they appeared in mobile products. Wi-Fi 6, however, is already seeing wide adoption and consumer demand will push it into the marketplace far more rapidly. That means demand for the QCA6390 is already building.

The inclusion of Qualcomm Bluetooth 5.1 in the QCA6390 is also worthy of note. Its improvements include support for ultra-high-quality voice, low latency audio, enhanced link resilience and support for smaller, more power-efficient wireless earbuds. Qualcomm’s aptXTM audio technology adds premium Bluetooth audio for improved quality and low latency that makes it ideal for video conferencing, gaming, video streaming and more.

The QCA6390 also has Qualcomm TrueWireless Stereo Plus. This technology is in direct response to the rapid disappearance of the 3.5mm headphone jack from many phones and tablets. It supports up to 2x the range of previous products and an improvement in battery life of up to 75 percent battery life.

The QCA6390 Connectivity SoC is currently sampling to customers. You can learn more on the Qualcomm site.

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About the Author

Dan Cohen
Having a father who was heavily involved in early laser and fiber-optical research, Dan grew up surrounded by technology and gadgets. Dan’s father brought home one of the very first video games when he was young and Dan remembers seeing a “pre-release” touchtone phone. (When he asked his father what the “#” and “*” buttons were his dad said, “Some day, far in the future, we’ll have some use for them.”) Technology seemed to be in Dan’s blood but at some point he took a different path and ended up in the clergy. His passion for technology and gadgets never left him. Dan is married to Raina Goldberg who is also an avid user of Apple products. They live in New Jersey with their golden doodle Nava.