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Qualcomm made a new Wi-Fi chip for the next generation of Wi-Fi

Qualcomm made a new Wi-Fi chip for the next generation of Wi-Fi

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Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Qualcomm announced a Wi-Fi chip for phones and tablets today that’s compatible with the forthcoming generation of Wi-Fi. The company says it’s the first to deliver 802.11ax features to manufacturers and the first to support WPA3 encryption, which protects user passwords and privacy.

The 802.11ax generation of Wi-Fi, which is supposed to begin seeing mass adoption next year, will deliver higher network throughput and use less power compared to the previous generation, 802.11ac. Qualcomm’s new chip gives phone and computer makers the option to start building the tech into their new products. It’s called the Atheros WCN3998, and manufacturers are supposed to start getting access in the next few months.

Qualcomm’s chips support older versions of Wi-Fi, so they’ll be able to connect to routers that don’t support the new standard (which are most of them, at this point). The Wi-Fi chip also handles Bluetooth with support for the forthcoming 5.1 standard. The chip is also bundled with other Qualcomm products like the TrueWireless system, and it can improve speeds when connected to routers that support the recent 11ac Wave 2 standard.

To improve speeds and reduce congestion, 802.11ax introduces new wireless tech and improves on some existing ones, like MU-MIMO for connecting multiple users at once. It uses something called Target Wait Time to wake devices at set times, in effect scheduling Wi-Fi traffic to reduce congestion. This would be particularly useful during high Wi-Fi congestion evenings when everyone is watching videos and gaming.