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Broadcom Looks to Double WiFi Performance in Smartphones, Tablets

The vendor's BCM4358 chip is designed to give device makers a tool for ramping up WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity.


Broadcom is looking to double the WiFi performance of mobile devices like smartphones and tablets with a new chip that combines powerful 802.11ac and Bluetooth connectivity.

The networking chip vendor on Sept. 3 introduced the BCM4358, which officials said will be the highest performing 5G 802.11ac and Bluetooth combo chip on the market and will give mobile device users faster speeds and greater performance than other chips. With devices armed with the chip, content will download twice as fast and streaming videos will need to buffer less often, and users will be able to connect to multiple WiFi and Bluetooth devices without interference, officials said.

Indoor location capabilities also will be more accurate, down to 1 meter, they said.

The chip will offer 650M bps WiFi data throughput and 50 percent better performance in coexisting with Bluetooth. It also will use second-generation 2X2 MIMO (multiple-in, multiple-out) technology.

The new chip comes at a time when device users increasingly are spending more time on WiFi networks consuming growing amounts of data and content. At the same time, mobility is becoming increasingly important in business, where workers are spending more time on the road or working remotely and relying more on their mobile devices.

"The combination of 5G WiFi and 2x2 MIMO unlocks the full potential of today's smartphones and tablets," David Recker, senior director of wireless connectivity, said in a statement. "These technologies are becoming de facto requirements for connectivity in high-end mobile devices."

Among the features in the BCM4358 are an 867M bps PHY rate and 80MHz channel bandwidth, a combination of two 802.11ac streams at the 80MHz channel bandwidth through a PCI-Express interface, support for Microsoft's Windows and Google's Android and Chrome operating systems, and an integrated power amplifier and low noise amplifier.

Broadcom's BCM4358 chip is in production now and will begin appearing in mobile devices in the third quarter.