Chipmaker Marvell has claimed it will be the first to offer Wi-Fi chipsets that bring the 802.11ax standard to the world.
802.11ax hasn't been signed off yet, but promises to send WiFi towards 10 Gb/s thanks to its use of both multi-user multiple-i-nput and multiple-output (MU-MIMO) and the new Orthogonal frequency-division multiple access (OFDMA). MU-MIMO lets an access point use multiple antennae for a single connection, while OFDMA assigns individual users subsets of a link so the radios can serve more than one user at a time. Together, the pair make 802.11ax good at combining lots of different links so that users get more connections, more often, and end up with more bandwidth.
That's a fine combination for business, as it promises the chance to serve users with fewer access points than are required today. Reduced complexity should result and should be appreciated, even if 802.11ax access points might just need a new cable standard to do meaningful work.
As is usually the case with evolutions to WiFi, silicon-makers start to work on kit before the standard is complete. The usual suspects have announced their intention to build 802.11ax kit, but Marvell's decided to announce actual products it has already sampled and plans to ship in 2018.
The company's cooked three chipsets: the 88W9068 has eight antennae dedicated to reception and another eight for transmission while the 88W9064 has four of each. Both are destined to end up in business-oriented products or public spaces. The 88W9064S has two receivers and four transmitters and Marvell's targeted it at set-top boxen.
The Register asked Marvell if it has secured any customers, but its representatives declined to do so. Its canned statement included a canned quote from Linksys about the wonderful properties 80211.ax possesses.
Marvell said the chipsets will ship some time in early 2018 and will appear in products in the second half of the year. Widespread 802.11ax adoption in devices probably won't happen until 2019. ®