Qualcomm Atheros Makes Slew of Networking Announcements at Computex


The first announcement from Qualcomm came in the form of an update on our previous coverage regarding a QualcommAtheros venture involving a program called Skifta. In short, Skifta is designed to really push the connected home concept and to enable better interconnectivity and interoperability between devices. Skifta is a Java-based engine which effectively provides an always-on DLNA software suite which allows for the streaming and play back of content when connected to a compatible device.

Today’s announcement comes in the form of an announcement regarding the Skifta engine. Now, the Skifta engine can be integrated into virtually any network connected source inside or outside of the home. What this enables OEMs to do is to integrate Skifta into their hardware which gives them the ability to stream to connected TVs, stereos and game consoles via a NAS, smart router or a set top box. Any device utilizing the Skifta engine could effectively enable any user with an Android Smartphone (iOS coming soon) to not only control the music, movies, and pictures on their Skifta enabled devices, but also to play content from their Android phone or tablet to that Skifta enabled device or vice versa.

The second announcement also came by way of Qualcomm’s Atheros networking division. This was to announce Qualcomm’s new 802.11ac networking platform to drive gigabit wireless in the home as well as the enterprise. Since 802.11ac is the next standard in Wi-Fi technology, most companies, including Qualcomm are doing their best to push it into the right direction and facilitate networking hardware manufacturers in the propagation of 802.11ac. Today’s announcement included the QCA9005AP which is a reference design 802.11ac for wireless routers, gateways and enterprise access points.

This new reference platform features the QCA9558 dual-band, 3-stream 802.11n SoC, the QCA9880 3-stream 802.11ac radio solution and an AR8327 gigabit ethernet switch. This reference platform enables Qualcomm’s partners to easily adopt gigabit speed wireless solutions to match the 802.11ac gigabit solutions that Qualcomm has developed for mobile devices. By offering this reference platform and making sure that it is dual-band so that both 2.4GHz (802.11n and older) and 5 GHz (802.11n and 802.11ac) can coexist in one device and improve the propagation of 802.11ac technology without forcing users to lose legacy support.

Currently, Qualcomm Atheros’ solution are sampling in N.A., EMEA and China, Korea and Japan with volume expected in the second half of 2012 (basically any time after June).

With these two technologies combined into networking devices, Qualcomm is continuing to position themselves as a key player in the connected home space as well as on the cutting edge of the latest wireless technologies that don’t pertain to cellular networks, their traditional forte. Needless to say, we can’t wait to see wireless routers with gigabit wireless and built-in Skifta capability.