Broadcom Unveils Integrated 5G WiFi SoCs for SMBs, Home Offices

The two new systems-on-a-chip are designed for devices that will enable smaller businesses to leverage the benefits of 802.11ac.

Broadcom is looking to enable smaller businesses and home offices to leverage next-generation WiFi networks with two new systems-on-a-chip that offer greater integration of technologies and greater performance capabilities than competing offerings.

At the Computex 2012 trade show in Taiwan June 5, Broadcom officials are previewing the StrataGX series for routers and network-attached storage (NAS) devices for small and midsize businesses (SMBs) and the BCM4708x series for home routers and gateways, with both systems-on-a-chip, or SoCs, essentially integrating all technologies needed for these devices.

According to Broadcom, the StrataGX and BCM4708x SoCs€”built atop ARM Holdings€™ Cortex-A9 chip design€”integrate the processor, Gigabit Ethernet switch, GbE physical layer transceivers (PHYs), USB 3.0 and traffic accelerators all on a single chip. The SoCs offer a significant jump in performance at a time when demands on WiFi networks are rapidly increasing, according to Dino Bekis, senior director of Broadcom€™s Mobile and Wireless Group.

The new offerings complement other 5G WiFi products the company has rolled out over the past few months as Broadcom officials look to build up the vendor€™s 802.11ac capabilities. The rapid increase in the number of wireless devices connecting to networks and the growth in the video and media as part of the wireless traffic is driving demand for better network performance and faster speeds, Bekis said in an interview with eWEEK.

Company officials cited studies done by Cisco Systems showing that by 2105, 1 million minutes of video content will cross networks every second, and that between 2010 and 2015, mobile data traffic worldwide will jump by a factor of 26. Also by 2015, the number of devices connected to IP networks will be twice the global population.

Other trends, such as bring-your-own-device (BYOD), also are driving business demand for greater network performance and higher bandwidth, according to Ed Doe, product line director for Broadcom€™s Infrastructure and Networking Group.

These issues can be addressed by 5G WiFi€”what Broadcom calls 802.11ac€”which offers the ability to stream video simultaneously to multiple devices, connect multiple devices to the network at the same time, reach Gigabit wireless rates and broaden coverage. Power efficiency also is an issue, with 5G WiFi devices offering six times better efficiency, according to the Broadcom officials.

With the new Broadcom SoCs, devices will enable multiple users in an office or home to simultaneously stream video content and download high-bandwidth applications 10 times faster than current networks. In addition, Broadcom€™s Energy Efficient Ethernet technology offers an additional 70 percent reduction in power consumption while networks are active, and up to 95 percent during downtime.

According to Broadcom, the StrataGX BCM5201x and BCM4708x series are sampling now, with production release scheduled for the second half of the year.