Quantenna shows off 4×4 MIMO 802.11n chips

CES 2011: 600Mbps wireless streaming

Quantenna LogoQUANTENNA WAS SHOWING off their latest silicon pre-CES, a 4×4 MIMO 802.11n chip. If you are into high bandwidth, interference resistance, and beamforming, you might want to take a look at their silicon.

The idea is simple, take an 802.11n chip, lock it in to the 5GHz band so you don’t get stepped on by the billion or two 2.4GHz devices out there, and then put four of them on a chip. That is why you see the four antennas.

Quantenna board

Quantenna reference board, note the antennas

With four channels, you can get 4 streams for an aggregate 300Mbps transfer rate on the first Quantenna chip. There is a newer version that just came back from the labs that does 4 150Mbps streams, meaning that it can theoretically have a 600Mbps throughput. That is a lot of bandwidth for Wireless applications. Some people might think this is overkill, but it has one really useful purpose even if there is only one user on the router, throughput over sub-optimal conditions.

Think about this, if you are in a noisy environment, like a trade show or an office, 802.11n packets have to dance through a minefield for wireless transmissions. 5GHz helps here, but it isn’t magic. Having 300 or 600Mbps means that if you map out channels, or fall back to slower transmission modes, you are still well above what many other single channel solutions can do in a perfect environment.

Quantenna showed this off at CES by streaming four 15Mbps HD video streams across an electrically noisy room, probably 150-200 feet. This was with one 300Mbps box, the ‘older’ chipset. If they can get four across a CES floor, one at your house should be no problem.S|A

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Charlie Demerjian

Roving engine of chaos and snide remarks at SemiAccurate
Charlie Demerjian is the founder of Stone Arch Networking Services and SemiAccurate.com. SemiAccurate.com is a technology news site; addressing hardware design, software selection, customization, securing and maintenance, with over one million views per month. He is a technologist and analyst specializing in semiconductors, system and network architecture. As head writer of SemiAccurate.com, he regularly advises writers, analysts, and industry executives on technical matters and long lead industry trends. Charlie is also a council member with Gerson Lehman Group. FullyAccurate