Qualcomm teams with Charter, EE to accelerate Wi-Fi 7 future

In May 2022, comms platform giant Qualcomm Technologies announced it was sampling the third-generation networking pro series portfolio, which it claimed was the world’s most scalable commercial Wi-Fi 7 platform, to initiate a new era of 10Gbps Wi-Fi for mesh, gateways and premium home routers. It has now advanced this strategy in partnerships with leading US and UK telcos Charter and EE to launch the 10G Fibre Gateway Platform, offering what it calls “ultimate” connected home performance.

Putting the launch of the 10G Fiber Gateway Platform – and its signature feature Qualcomm Service Defined Wi-Fi technology – into context, the tech firm said that the overwhelming majority of subscribers experience their broadband service through Wi-Fi, yet in today’s broadband systems, the access network from the service provider to the home and Wi-Fi in the home are managed separately – with a quality of service which is nearly impossible to maintain across the entire network. This, it said, was due to the diversity of devices, applications, connectivity technologies and the near-constant change across all these elements. 

The Qualcomm 10G Fiber Gateway Platform is architected to enable 10Gbps to and through the home. Its software-defined architecture combines 10G Passive Optical Network (PON) technology with multi-gigabit Wi-Fi 7 connectivity to ensure high-speed connectivity and low-latency access can be delivered seamlessly through the home to end devices – such as phones, PCs, smart TVs, home cameras or appliances.

The Qualcomm Service Defined Wi-Fi technology’s application-type orchestration is built to enable providers to create a new level of user experience based on reliable and fast end-to-end connectivity. Service providers will be able to offer differentiated services optimised for applications such as streaming and employer-supported work-from-home optimised service.

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The Qualcomm Service Defined Wi-Fi technology is said to addresses this management challenge by offering a unified data flow management architecture, from cloud to device. It’s designed to deliver orchestration, classification, scheduling and insights that help ensure subscriber performance expectations for 10G fibre are met, adapting to user activity whether they are streaming, video conferencing or sharing content.

“Qualcomm’s latest advancements in home gateways will help accelerate the ongoing transformation of home Wi-Fi networks,” said Andrew Spivey, senior analyst at ABI Research, commenting on the announcement.

“Given the rapid deployment of fibre-optic cable, alongside the concurrent decline of legacy cable and DSL technologies, the new platform is timely, and combined with Qualcomm’s Wi-Fi 7 technology will prove indispensable in delivering the advanced speeds modern homes require. We are also confident that Qualcomm’s Service-Defined Wi-Fi Technology will help underpin the home networking revolution through the enablement of guaranteed quality of service for consumers.” 

The Qualcomm 10G Fiber Gateway Platform and Qualcomm Service Defined Wi-Fi technology are scheduled to be commercially available to providers by summer 2024. Among these providers are Charter and EE.

Charter has just announced a collaboration with Qualcomm to deliver the next-generation Advanced Wi-Fi router that will bring Wi-Fi 7 and 10 Gbps Wi-Fi capabilities to its Spectrum Internet users, helping to support and enhance the converged connectivity experience for residential and small and medium-sized business customers. Advanced Wi-Fi routers with Wi-Fi 7 are expected to be available to Spectrum customers in 2024. 

“The leading Wi-Fi 7 innovations from Qualcomm Technologies will enable our Advanced Wi-Fi service to continue delivering robust and responsive internet connectivity and ultra-fast Wi-Fi speeds to our customers,” said Dave Rodrian, Charter’s group vice-president of Wi-Fi products. “This next generation of Wi-Fi will support the delivery of new experiences, such as fully immersive, ultra-low latency VR, and aligns with our network evolution plan to enable multi-gig wireless connectivity across our entire footprint.” 

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For its part, and partnering with Qualcomm, UK operator EE has unveiled the first of its future strategic plans for its home broadband service as part of its ongoing ambition to become the UK’s most personal customer-focused brand. EE has committed to roll out in-home hardware in the future that will feature Qualcomm Wi-Fi 7 platforms, enabling them to be among the first in the world to get access to the next generation of Wi-Fi. 

“We have a long history of collaborating with Qualcomm Technologies to create innovation in mobile for consumers – so we’re delighted to evolve this strategic collaboration into our in-home products for the first time,” said EE CEO Marc Allera. “EE broadband customers will be among the first globally to benefit from access to a certified next-gen Wi-Fi 7 home hub – providing them with the cutting edge of innovation in connectivity.”

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