Chipset Vendors: Qualcomm
Atheros absorbed Airgo Networks in 2006, making it a heavyweight in the wireless domain. Qualcomm, originally not a player in the commercial networking field, announced a takeover of Atheros in 2011, and Atheros became a subsidiary named Qualcomm Atheros. Qualcomm Atheros went on to acquire Ubicom for its SoC IP in 2012, and Wilocity in 2014 for its 802.11ad expertise. Another interesting Qualcomm Atheros acquisition from September 2011—Bigfoot Networks, a manufacturer of networking solutions for gaming applications—struck out on its own as Rivet Networks. Its SoCs and NICs are marketed under Killer Networking's name, and show up in high-performance gaming motherboards.
Qualcomm Router SoCs
The IPQ40X8/X9 is Qualcomm's latest Wave 2 MU-MIMO SoC. Because it was introduced in October 2015, information on this chipset is still scarce. But we do have some of its specifications.
The A/IPQ806X chipset family is designed to enable "smart-home" platforms, and it borrows from the MSM8974's mobile pedigree to do it. The 2012 APQ8064 used the same Snapdragon S4 processor as the MSM8974 and had a 3G/4G modem, whereas the IPQ8064/62 looks more like a traditional router platform but with a plethora of slots and ports, as well as SDIO support.
|Model Number||Year||Processor Specs||Wireless Specs||Additional Capabilities||Used In|
|IPQ40X8/X9||2015||Quad-core 1.4GHz ARM Cortex-A9||Twin 2x2 integrated radios (1.73 Gb/s max PHY rate)||USB 3.0, PCIe, SD/eMMC ports/slotsLTE support||Unknown as of yet|
|A/IPQ806X FAMILY||2014||ARMv7 Compatible2x Krait 300 1.4GHz/1GHz||3x PCIe PortsSDIO||SATA 6Gb/s, 2x USB 3.0 + HSIC, xGMII, DDR3, SDIO, Crypto accelerator (AES/3DES/SHA)NAND support||ASRock G10Compex AP148Linksys E8350 and EA8500Netgear D7800, R7500, R7500v2TP-Link Archer C2600 v1.x|
|QC401X, QCA4531X||2015||MIPS 24Kc 650MHz||Built-in Wi-Fi (802.11n, 2x2 MIMO for the QCA4531)||Up to 128MB DDR2/DDR1 RAM, up to 16MB NOR flashUSB 2.0 host, UART, JTAG, PCIeAllJoyn framework (Qualcomm proprietary)OpenWRT12 GPIO lanes, up to 5 (4+1) FE Ethernet Ports||Unknown as of yet|
|QCA95XX Family||2013/2014||MIPS 74Kc 750MHz (Slower in earlier models)||Built-in Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n, 3x3 MIMO)||PCIe host, USB 2.0 host,Integrated FE switch||Belkin F9K1115 v2Buffalo WZR-450HP2DD-Link DGL-5500 Linksys EA4500 v3Netgear WNR2500TP-Link Archer C5 v1.xNetgear WNDR4300v2 TP-Link Archer C7 v1.x|
We wouldn't normally include the QC401X and QCA4531 chipsets, since they're targeted at low-power devices for IoT networks, but their newness merits a mention. Qualcomm’s newest WiSoCs, the low-end RTOS-driven QCA401X family and the QCA4531 SoC that runs OpenWrt Linux, support the AllJoyn IoT standard running off a 650MHz, MIPS 24Kc-based processor.
A very popular chipset family, the QCA95xx was introduced in 2013 and was refreshed in 2014. It's found in routers from pretty much every vendor.
The QCA9880 is a 3x3 dual-band radio chip introduced in 2013. It's meant to be paired with the QCA9558 SoC, providing up to 1.7 Gb/s. It is used in various routers, including Cisco's DPC3941; D-Link's DIR-859, DIR-862L and DIR-863; Linksys' E8350; Netgear's C6300 and R7500; and TP-Link Archer's C5, C7, D7, TGR1900 and TL-WDR7500.
The QCA9882 is a 2x2 dual-band radio chip introduced in 2013; its the QCA9880's "little brother," despite its higher model number, and it complements the QCA9880 for home networking. The QCA9890 and QCA9892 are their counterparts for enterprise solutions. The QCA9882 is rated for up to 1.3 Gb/s and is used in various routers, including Asus' RT-AC55U and RT-AC55UHP; D-Link's DAP-2660 and DGL-5500; and Netgear's D6200, JR6100, R6000 and R6100.
In the same family, the QCA9890 and the QCA9892 were also introduced in 2013 as 2x2 and 3x3 dual-band radio chips. They both provide up to 1.3 Gb/s utilizing the 802.11ac standard. The difference between them lies in their number of streams. QCA9890 is the "bigger" of the two, complementing chips for enterprise solutions featuring three streams. The QCA9890 only offers two streams. The QCA9890 has been used in AirTight Networks C-75 and -E, as well as Gateworks Ventana GW3056.
The QCA9860 and the QCA9862 are stand-alone combo chips that complement the above families of radio chips introduced in 2013. The bigger of the couple is the QCA9860, offering three streams, whereas the smaller one, the QCA9862, only offers two. Both reach up to 1.3 Gb/s. Unlike the QCA9880/82 and QCA9890/92, which are meant to be paired with an SoC solution, the QCA9860 and QCA9862 are stand-alone SoCs.