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Chipmaker Broadcom, today announced that its latest 5G WiFi chips are used in the NETGEAR Nighthawk X6 WiFi router (R8000) which uses six antennas. In contrast, the ASUS’ RT-AC87U uses Quantenna’s chipset in its new four antenna 802.11ac WiFi router.

Netgear calls it a “Tri-Band” router, referring to the three radios in the XStream architecture, explains Small Net Builder. One radio covers the 2.4 GHz band, while the second radio covers the low 5 GHz band (Channels 36 – 48) and the third radio covers the high band (Channels 149 – 165). NETGEAR’s specs say the R8000 supports alternative distros that will be available from MyOpenRouter.com.

Netgear says the Nighthawk X6 delivers up to 3.2 Gbps, for simultaneous connectivity of Internet of Thing (IoT) devices, online gaming and high definition video streaming to multiple screens. NETGEAR, however, states it will be only “Multi-user MIMO Ready”, so it may not be shipping a full “Wave 2″ device — yet.

Multi-user MIMO allows multiple transmitters to send separate signals and multiple receivers in the same band. By contrast virtually all 802.11ac routers use single-user MIMO where only one client can be served at a time (sequentially). Qualcomm is also working on Wave 2 chips along with software upgrades for its processors and clients.

Both Quantenna and Qualcomm-Atheros have announced four-stream “Wave 2″ 802.11ac chipsets supporting Multi-User MIMO.

Netgear’s Quad-stream Wi-Fi router runs on a 1.4 GHz dual-core processor in contrast with Netgear’s R7000, which is based on a 1 GHz Broadcom BCM4709A SoC. It has two USB 3.0 and one eSATA port for sharing storage and printers. It costs $299 on Amazon with shipments starting July 11.

ABI Research estimates that 40 percent of all ac devices shipped in 2013 were handsets.

After 802.11ac comes 802.11ad, which would add the unlicensed 60 GHz band to Wi-Fi. According to Ali Sadri, Director of the Intel Mobile Wireless Group and Chairman of the WiGig Alliance, WiGig has been confirmed as the baseline specification for draft 802.11ad.

Related Dailywireless articles include; Qualcomm: Chips for MU-MIMO, Small Cells, Home Gateways, WiFi & Hotspot 2.0 at MWC , Netgear Readies Four Radio Router, Marvel 802.11ac: Now with 4×4 Beamforming, Fast Transistion to 802.11ac Predicts ABI, Broadcom 802.11ac for Phones, Netgear 802.11AC WiFi Router, Cisco 802.11ac Router with Cloud Control, Quantenna: 802.11ac Chipset, Buffalo 802.11ac Routers,

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