Gigabit 11n products expected in Q3

* Consumer hi-def applications to roll out first

Chipmaker Quantenna Communications demonstrated at the Consumer Electronics Show this month a teeny-weeny Draft 802.11n chipset with 4x4 MIMO radios and standards-based transmit beam-forming capabilities. The company claims that forthcoming 11n Wi-Fi networks built on its QHS chipset family, first announced last October, deliver near error-free real-time high-definition television (HDTV) wirelessly throughout any size home in conjunction with standard, low-latency H.264 codecs.

HDTV applications require very low packet error rates so users don’t experience degradation in video quality.

Quantenna is bravely taking on the likes of Atheros, Broadcom and Marvell in the cutthroat Wi-Fi chip market. It says it is hoping to eliminate the industry’s need for proprietary short-range wireless solutions, such as Ultra Wideband (UWB) and 60GHz alternatives, for HD applications.

The company expects products with 11n connections that support 1Gbps connect rates (600Mbps raw throughput) to ship in the third quarter from consumer electronics companies such as makers of flat-panel TVs, set-top boxes and residential gateways. While consumer HDTV and gaming applications will likely represent initial uses of the silicon, enterprise applications won’t be far behind.

Think telepresence. Think all-wireless office.

“With the chip’s small geometry and 1Gbps [connect rate], enterprises should be able to put everything on wireless in the future, reducing the capex and time investments associated with cabled Ethernet,” according to Behrooz Rezvani, Quantenna’s founder and CEO.

MIMO, one form of smart antenna technology used in the emerging 802.11n standard, leverages multiple antennas at each end of a communications circuit. Transmitted signals are combined to minimize errors and optimize data rates. The more antennas and spatial streams involved in transmission and reception, the higher the performance. Most enterprise products on the market today support 2x2 or 2x3 MIMO configurations with two spatial streams.

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Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.