Qualcomm releases the QCA9377 1×1 MU-MIMO 802.11ac radio

Updated: No it isn’t a random acronym generator, honestly

Qualcomm Snapdragon logoThe day you have all been waiting for is here, Qualcomm is announcing the QCA9377 1×1 802.11ac radio! Yes you read that right, we finally have a 1×1 capable stand-alone MU-MIMO radio on our hands.

Snide cracks aside, Qualcomm announced eight 802.11ac Wave 2 MU-MIMO capable devices last April so what is the big deal? The new device is a 1×1 Wi-Fi chip with a Bluetooth 4.1 radio on it for good measure, something that wasn’t available before. If this sounds a lot like the WCN3680 sans Snapdragon 801 and the rest of the SoC barring the radio, that seems about right. Think ~433Mbps on the receive side and you will have the gist of it.

More interesting is that you can now actually get one of these radios in a device that is not a cell phone. That is thanks to AVM which is introducing their FRITZ!Box at Broadband World Forum today, no points if you guess what radio this device uses. If you want a QCA9377 and don’t need another phone, go out and buy a FRITZ!Box or three. If you are unsure about the purchase, stop by the BBWF and see a live demo, then buy three with a clear conscience.

Update October 21, 2014 @ 2:45pm: The FRITZ!Box does not actually contain a QA9377 it has a 4×4 QCA9980 in it. This makes much more sense because a MU-MIMO transmitter needs at least a 3×3 radio to do it’s work, not to mention the speeds at 1×1 are a bit anaemic for this class of device. In any case the QCA9377 should be available this year. Sorry about that.

In the end it isn’t earth-shattering news but the advent of MU-MIMO is upon us and for dense Wi-Fi installations that is a good thing. The sooner this technology gets spread into the mainstream the better off we all will be, the more users the merrier. Like we said go buy three, they won’t put any more load on a Wi-Fi cloud than a single non-MU-MIMO radio. We didn’t just pull that number out of thin air you know.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