Next-gen Wi-Fi gear to arrive by the middle of next year based on new 802.11ac standard.

Broadcom gets behind 1.3Gb/s super Wi-Fi

Broadcom has thrown the chip giant’s weight behind a new Wi-Fi successor known as 802.11ac which the firm says will be standard in consumer equipment by the end of next year.

The firm said that 802.11ac would virtually double the range of existing 802.11n-based Wi-Fi networks while also increasing the bandwidth available and improving battery life. The first devices are expected to arrive around the middle of next year.

The key to higher speeds available from 802.11ac is in the fact that the network uses the 5GHz spectrum rather than the congested 2.4GHz region. The new technology using 80MHz channels with 3 x 3 arrays of antennas will be capable of transmitting over 1.3 Gbits/sec, far faster than the 300 Mbit/sec of the older 802.11n.

802.11ac can also scale up to use two channels where rates as high as 2.6 Gbits/sec are possible.

Competing standards such as wireless HDMI and WiGig have also been drumming up support but a major chip making heavyweight like Broadcom has the capability to enable manufacturers to offer competitively priced products by using the firm’s chips.

Broadcom also appeared to suggest that further 802.11ac news might appear at the upcoming CES 2012 show, possibly news of specific hardware and consumer products.

The new standard has yet to be ratified by the IEEE but as with previous standards, it seems likely that chipmakers and end-user equipment will jump the gun and offer an upgrade should the final standard turn out different than expected.

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