Broadcom today announced the first Wi-Fi 6E client device, the BCM4389.
Wi-Fi 6E extends the Wi-Fi 6 standard to support the soon-to-be-operational 6 GHz band with wider 160 MHz channel bandwidths that double Wi-Fi speeds and cut latency in half compared to Wi-Fi 5. The BCM4389 delivers over 2 Gbps of real-world speeds and up to five times better battery utilization, and will be mainly used in flagship smartphones and future AR/VR devices.
Wi-Fi 6E builds on the feature set of Wi-Fi 6, which includes improved performance in crowded environments, advanced roaming capabilities and increased security. This enhancement of Wi-Fi 6 uses new spectrum in the 6 GHz band to deliver multi-gigabit speeds while avoiding congestion with legacy devices.
The BCM4389 also brings advanced multi-radio technology to Bluetooth. Inspired by Wi-Fi communication techniques such as multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) and beamforming, the BCM4389 improves audio performance and range for any connected Bluetooth accessory. Broadcom says that phones equipped with the BCM4389 will provide "a seamless audio experience" with popular Bluetooth headsets even in congested places such as subway stations.
In yet another first, the BCM4389 utilizes Broadcom’s new tri-band simultaneous (TBS) connectivity architecture to mobile devices. In addition to two main Wi-Fi radios and a MIMO Bluetooth radio, the BCM4389 incorporates a third ultra-low-power independent radio for optimizing Wi-Fi and Bluetooth performance. The three-radio architecture:
Enables always-on Bluetooth discovery for faster pairing with accessories and interference mitigation. Phones and headsets can now pair faster.
Quickly scans for interference-free Wi-Fi networks to connect to while main Wi-Fi radios provide data, voice and video services. Phones switch to networks with better Quality-of-Service (QoS).
Improves indoor location accuracy with always-on scanning and little impact on battery life.
Enables the BCM4389 to deliver up to five times better battery utilization than current flagship connectivity solutions.
The new 6 GHz spectrum band is expected to be operational in the United States in 2020, and a wide range of 6 GHz enabled devices will be available at launch.
The BCM4389 is a smartphone combo chip. Key features include:
- Support for 2 streams of Wi-Fi 6E
- Multi-Radio Bluetooth 5 with antenna beamforming
- Tri-Band Simultaneous (TBS) architecture including a dedicated background scan radio
- Simultaneous dual-band operation
- 2.63 Gbps PHY rate
- Operation in 2.4 GHz and 5.1-7.125 GHz unlicensed band
- 160 MHz channel bandwidth
- 1024-QAM modulation
Broadcom is a major supplier to high-end smart phone makers such as Apple, with whom it has signed deals to supply as much as $15 billion worth of chips.