SAN FRANCISCO—Marvell Technology Group Ltd. Monday (Dec. 3) introduced a wireless local area network (WLAN) SoC that it claims is the industry's first 802.11ac 4x4 SoC to improve the throughput of enterprise and retail access points and the robustness of wireless video distribution.
Marvell (Santa Clara, Calif.) said the Avastar 88W8864 offers up to a three times increase in Wi-Fi throughput compared with its predecessor and more than two times the power efficiency when processing high-speed loads.
"This is another breakthrough capability that Marvell is driving in the industry," said Weili Dai, a Marvell co-founder and vice president and general manager of the company's communications and consumer business. "It's becoming very important and very critical. Consumers want reliable, robust and high-per capability through the Wi-Fi pipe."
According to Dai and Bart Giordano, director of director of wireless marketing at the Avastar 88W8864, sampling now, is timed to be generally available when certification for the 802.11ac flavor of the Wi-Fi standard is available from the Wi-Fi Alliance next year. The executives said the industry is hoping to avoid a replay of the 802.11n rollout, when many devices that shipped based on a draft version of the spec did not actually operate in concert.
"I think 802.11n is widely regarded as a failure because many of the devices didn't work together [initially]," Giordano said. He added that it wasn’t the technology that made the standard a failure, just the rollout. Companies moved too quickly into rolling out new products before adequately testing the technology and making sure they were interoperable, he said.
Marvell claims a competitive technological advantage in beamforming technology, a critical part of the 802.11ac spec that is said to greatly improve connectivity. According to Giordano, while most W-Fi chips that use beamforming technology require that the chips its is connecting with also use beamforming, Marvell's beamforming technology works with other W-Fi chips whether or not those chips use beamforming.
"There is such an advantage in Marvell's beamforming that our customers have gone off and branded it," Giordano said, mentioning as an example Cisco Systems Inc.