New Marvell 4x4 Chip Expands Gigabit Wireless Coverage

Marvell introduced on Monday its new Marvell Avastar 88W8864 chip, a wireless local area network (WLAN) system-on-chip (SoC) and the industry's first 802.11ac 4x4 solution.

The new Marvell chip is designed to improve the throughput of retail and enterprise access points (APs), service provider gateways, hotspots, video bridges and set-top boxes. Networks equipped with this new wireless solution will offer streaming data of up to 1.3 Gbps using four antennas, not the previous two.

"The 4x4 WLAN SoC configuration is the baseline architecture for best-of-breed enterprise, retail and service provider network infrastructures," the company said. "By combining the advanced 4x4 MIMO solution with Marvell's market-proven beamforming technology and now 802.11ac support, the 88W8864 is poised to further enhance the company’s stronghold in indoor and outdoor APs and also expand its presence in the service provider video market."

News of the 4x4 solution follows the release of Marvell's Avastar 88W8897 802.11ac 2x2 combination radio chip which supports Near Field Communication (NFC), Bluetooth 4.0, mobile MIMO, transmit beamforming and Miracast. The newer chip offers the same support, but with a wider range best suited for retail access points, public hotspots, video bridges and perhaps even large homes that would otherwise need an amplified signal.

Beamforming is described as "a specialized method of radio-frequency transmission that can be integrated across a range of devices." This method greatly improves link robustness and wireless performance so that video streaming is seamless as it's transmitted into an area previously allowing only minimal coverage and video quality (aka too many objects interfering with the signal etc).

Marvell said the new 88W8864 chip will be integrated into a broad range of Marvell's media platforms that serve the service provider gateway and set-top box markets including the company's video and network SoC platforms. Features will include channel bandwidth up to 80 MHz, multi-stream, low PER and latency HD video, a powerful Wi-Fi offload engine, a 256 QAM modulation scheme and more.

"The new era of the digital lifestyle requires superior wireless connectivity which serves as a critical pillar for delivering live content across all screen sizes and ‘Smart Furnishings’ for connected consumers," said Weili Dai, Co-Founder of Marvell. "I am very proud to see our dedicated team of engineers continue to build ground-breaking wireless technologies that support the latest industry standards, significantly improving network capacity, performance and reliability for Wi-Fi devices accessing the cloud infrastructure."

Marvell said it is currently sampling the new chip to Wi-Fi equipment manufacturers.

 

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  • An all purpose four antenna chip. Sounds interesting.
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  • It usually not the hardware that is the limiting factor for this sort of things, but rather how much the telco wants to earn, if they want to maximize profit, they will need to pack the most no. of subscribers to the least bandwidth matrix.
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