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September 08, 2014

New Wi-Fi/Bluetooth Combo Chip Doubles Wireless Performance

Consumers and employees spend a lot of time on their wireless devices. Whether they’re on tablets, smartphones, laptops, or any other mobile units, research shows that consumers spend, on average, about five hours each day utilizing Wi-Fi. Over months and years, higher speeds can obviously save people a lot of time, and business can save a lot of money because their employees can accomplish more tasks more quickly.

That’s exactly the sentiment many businesses express when they talk about wireless networks, and to meet such businesses' demands, Broadcom Corporation has announced a new 5G Wi-Fi 2X2 Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO) combo chip that original equipment manufacturers can install in their mobile devices. Broadcom announced its new product, the BCM4358, this past week and said that it is able to handle Wi-Fi as well as Bluetooth and can help OEMs create products that will deliver users "twice the Wi-Fi performance." This is achieved with 650 Mbps Wi-Fi data throughput alongside an improvement of 50 percent coexistence performance with Bluetooth, the company says, and David Recker, the senior director of wireless connectivity at Broadcom, spoke about the necessity for MIMO in modern mobile devices.

"The combination of 5G Wi-Fi and 2x2 MIMO unlocks the full potential of today's smartphones and tablets. These technologies are becoming de facto requirements for connectivity in high-end mobile devices," Recker said. "With the BCM4358 we are addressing critical multi-radio interference challenges while setting a new bar for performance that reflects Broadcom's continued commitment to be first to deliver the most powerful solutions in the market."

Within the announcement, ABI Research Director Philip Solis reflects on the changes Broadcom continues to make regarding wireless technology. It is ABI Research that estimates consumers spend about five hours each day using their mobile devices with Wi-Fi, and he says Broadcom was the first company to mass produce a MIMO chip for smartphones and that the company has not backed down from its commitment to pushing the envelope and scraping more performance from devices people use every day.

Among the abilities of the BCM4358 is its ability to work with three major mobile operating systems. It supports Android, which targets many smartphone users in the market, and it also supports Windows and Chrome, which certainly makes the combo chip important to a large sector of businesses that utilize laptops. There is no word in the announcement about whether or not the chip will support Linux, iOS, or even Windows Phone. It is scheduled for release in mobile devices within Q3 2014.

Edited by Rory J. Thompson

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