Qualcomm Atheros Announces 802.11ac Chips, Wireless Connectivity Goes HD

Most every piece of modern electronics has a wireless-connectivity option—TV's, alarm clocks, refrigerators, even thermostats. With all these devices competing for bandwidth—not to mention the demands of streaming media—network performance will suffer. Qualcomm Atheros' new gigabit-capable 802.11ac chips should give these devices some breathing room.

For mobile devices, the company will offer a combination Wi-Fi/Bluetooth/FM chip compatible with the company's Snapdragon S4 line of processors. The S4's are also compatible with current 802.11n chips, which should hasten the transition to the new wireless standard. Similar-caliber chips will also be paired with the S4 line for desktop, tablet, and notebook applications.

"By enabling client devices, such as smartphones, tablets and notebooks, with easy migration from 802.11n to 802.11ac, Qualcomm Atheros is paving the way for rapid adoption of products based on the new Wi-Fi standard," said Qualcomm Atheros president Craig Barratt in a statement,"This should provide for a smooth, full-scale transition to Gigabit-capable Wi-Fi networking within the next two years."

Even televisions (as well as gaming systems and streaming boxes) can be outfitted with an 802.11ac/Bluetooth 4.0 version, which should be sweet. I may finally get that elusive "Netflix 4th bar" of connectivity and actually watch streaming HD content as it should be. Though I guess this means I'm going to have to buy a new TV. And smart phone. And refrigerator. Wow, the unrelenting march of progress is expensive.