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Qualcomm's new Wi-Fi 6E chipsets promise faster, more capable mobile devices

The new chips support Wi-Fi speeds of up to 3.6Gbps, and should begin shipping in devices by the end of this year.

The chipsets from Qualcomm promise speeds of up to 3.6Gbps. 
Shara Tibken/CNET

Promising the fastest available speeds in mobile Wi-Fi, Qualcomm is rolling out new Wi-Fi 6E chipsets capable of tapping into new bandwidth in the 6GHz spectrum, which was made available by an FCC decision just last month. Dubbed the Qualcomm FastConnect 6700 and FastConnect 6900 mobile connectivity systems, the chipsets promise speeds of up to 3.6Gbps and "VR-class" low latency, as well as Bluetooth advancements for emerging LE Audio use cases.

With 1,200MHz of bandwidth untouched by other Wi-Fi devices up until now, the 6GHz band represents an awful lot of fresh real estate for wireless transmissions, with room for a greater number of wider channels for increased throughput. For comparison, the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands used by current-generation Wi-Fi devices offer just 70MHz and 500MHz of bandwidth, respectively.

Qualcomm shares the features of the FastConnect 6700 and FastConnect 6900 chipsets. 


With the FCC voting unanimously to open that 6GHz band to unlicensed Wi-Fi, manufacturers are racing to take advantage. At the start of 2020 and in anticipation of the FCC's move, the Wi-Fi Alliance created the Wi-Fi 6E branding to help identify devices capable of accessing the 6GHz band. In February, Broadcom followed suit with new Wi-Fi 6E chipsets of its own.

"Wi-Fi Alliance members have mobilized around 6GHz in an unprecedented way, and we're excited to see Wi-Fi 6E solutions rapidly coming to market with the availability of new unlicensed spectrum in the US," said Kevin Robinson, senior vice president of marketing at the Wi-Fi Alliance.

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Qualcomm says that the FastConnect 6700 and 6900 systems are sampling now and will ship in devices during the second half of 2020.