Second generation quad core WiFi 7 chips add IoT, Bluetooth 5.4 support

 Second generation quad core WiFi 7 chips add IoT, Bluetooth 5.4 support

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By Nick Flaherty

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Broadcom has announced its second generation of chips for the latest 6GHz WiFi 7 wireless standard.

The chips span routers, residential gateways, enterprise access points, and client devices and add support for the Internet of Things (IoT) and combo chips with a broad range of connectivity including Bluetooth 5.

The first chip, the BCM6765, is a highly-optimized residential access point chip that supports 320 MHz dual stream operation. This has four ARMv8 CPU with a 10G Ethernet PHY, dual 2×2 tri-band radio for 2.4, 5 and 6 GHz with an integrated 2.4 GHz power amplifiers and support for Digital Pre-distortion (DPD) external FEMs for reduced power consumption. 4096-QAM modulation and 320 MHz channel bandwidth provides 8.64 Gbit/s at the PHY.

The second chip, the BCM47722, is an enterprise access point chip with the same ARM subsystem that also supports 320 MHz dual stream operation along with dual IoT radios that support simultaneous operation for Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) 5.4, Zigbee, Thread, and Matter protocols. This addresses the growing needs of Internet of things (IoT) applications in the enterprise market.

The third chip, the BCM4390, is a low-power WiFi, Bluetooth, and 802.15.4 combo chip designed for use in mobile devices such as handsets and tablets. It supports 160 MHz dual stream operation, dual Bluetooth, and Zigbee, Thread, and Matter protocols to service a broad set of mobile markets.

The dual radio that supports simultaneous 2-stream 2.4 GHz and 2-stream 5/6 GHz WiFi 7 operation with 4096-QAM modulation and 160 MHz channel bandwidth for 3.2 Gbit/s PHY rate. This includes compliance to IEEE and WFA Wi-Fi 7 standards, as well as the Bluetooth 5.4 standard and future draft specifications such as Channel Sounding.

WiFi 7 is designed from the ground up for the newly available 6 GHz band and devices based on Broadcom’s first-generation products have already reached the market. The second-generation of chips reduce the costs with optimisation and add more connectivity as a result of the feedback from these initial versions.

This feedback is for increased bandwidth and multi-link operation (MLO) which allows devices to aggregate channels and rapidly switch between channels. This guarantees commercial-grade quality of service with optimal application latency and addresses one of the drawbacks of the popularity of WiFi. 

Broadcom’s WiFi chips include support for 3-link MLO, which reduces latency by 50% compared to typical 2-link implementations. There is also a proprietary SpeedBooster feature that allows 160 MHz devices, such as mobile devices based on the BCM4390, to use the full 320 MHz access point capacity, doubling the WiFi connection speed.

WiFi 7 also uses Automatic Frequency Coordination (AFC) for optimal spectrum allocation to enable high-power access points and extend 6Hz transmit range in both indoor and outdoor environments.

Both the BCM47722 and BCM4390 support the latest Bluetooth 5.4 standard and are forward-compatible with the draft Bluetooth Channel Sounding specification for location services. This brings a wide range of new features both to mobile handsets, such as secure vehicle keyless entry, and enterprise access points, including support for asset tracking and electronic shelf labels. In addition, both chips support Zigbee, Thread, and Matter, allowing them to interoperate with the growing number of residential and enterprise IoT devices.

“High-speed, low-latency wireless connectivity is essential for our homes and offices alike. We launched a complete Wi-Fi 7 ecosystem for mobile handsets and residential and enterprise networks last year to power the next generation of digital experiences,” said Vijay Nagarajan, vice president of marketing for the Wireless Communications and Connectivity Division at Broadcom. “With these three new products, Broadcom enables its customers to build a diverse set of best-in-class WiFi 7 products across a wide range of markets.”

Broadcom is currently sampling its second generation WiFi 7 chips to early access partners and customers in retail, enterprise and smartphone, service provider, and carrier segments. P



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