Quantenna hopes chips will improve home Wi-Fi

Quantenna Communications has unveiled new chips that it hopes will improve the performance of wireless home networking products.

Mesh networks, on the other hand, can choose to send data along a different path to get around localized interference issues, Rezvani said.

If companies such as Hewlett-Packard or Dell were to put the mesh algorithm into their laptops, then they too could become part of the mesh: There is more than enough power for that to be done, according to Rezvani.

Quantenna took the 802.11s draft standard as the base for its implementation of mesh networking, offering its customers additional features such as improved support for calculating different paths for the traffic to take, according to Rezvani.

Besides mesh networking, the QHS family supports transmit beamforming, which makes it possible for the access point to aim its signal at the client. "Beamforming helps when you have difficult walls, and also when you want to get rid of dead spots," said Rezvani.

When a signal arrives at the access point it starts to calculate the direction of the beam, and from there starts estimating its location. It doesn't matter if the client is 802.11b, g or n, according to Rezvani.

The 802.11n standard specifies two ways of calculating the direction: implicit and explicit. With implicit calculation, the access point estimates the direction, while explicit calculation requires the client to support beam forming and also send its location to the access point. "We support both," said Rezvani.

The last two parts in Quatenna's arsenal are MIMO (multiple-input and multiple-output) and concurrent dual-band technology, which makes it possible to transmit data via both the 5GHz band and the 2.4GHz band at the same time. Concurrent dual-band is a part of its top of the line QHS 1000, which supports data rates of up to 600M bps, according to Rezvani.

The dual-band system should help Quantenna achieve its goal of reliable HD video distribution over home networks: "You can put the data on 2.4 GHz and the video on 5 GHz," said Rezvani.

MIMO is the cornerstone of 802.11n, helping get the signals through high-interference conditions, according to Rezvani.

To be able to do both beam forming and MIMO you need several antennas and to do it well you need at least four, which is what the QHS family supports, according to Rezvani.

Breaking into the chip sector is no easy task. What will set the QHS apart from the competition, according to Rezvani, is the combination of all its features in a small package. Based on what the company knows it is about a year ahead of the competition, he said.

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