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Bench Talk for Design Engineers

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Bench Talk for Design Engineers | The Official Blog of Mouser Electronics

New Tech Tuesdays: Wi-Fi 6 Opens Up IoT Solutions Tommy Cummings

New Tech Tuesday

Join journalist Tommy Cummings for a weekly look at all things interesting, new, and noteworthy for design engineers.

So how's your Wi-Fi® connection? Can network connectivity get any better? Has buffering got you down?

Those connections could be getting more efficient thanks to Wi-Fi 6 (IEEE 802.11ax), the newest and current Wi-Fi specification standard. Originally, venues such as stadiums and concert halls–where thousands of people gathered and gobbled up data–would reap Wi-Fi 6’s benefits, but now Wi-Fi 6 is also headed for home use.

Wi-Fi 6 is all about improving networks when several devices are connected. Multiple devices running concurrently can overwhelm current routers. Wi-Fi 6 promises improved connectivity and faster network speeds, which can broaden router bandwidth and keep devices running effectively with increased data demands.

Developers can keep up with these improvements simply starting with antennas and front-end modules. Manufacturers are turning out products that can better sustain connectivity.

This week's New Tech Tuesdays highlights two Wi-Fi 6-enhancing devices available to designers for solution-based development.


How an Antenna, Module Can Improve Wi-Fi 6 Access

Linx Technologies W63RPC1 Rigid Embedded Dipole Wi-Fi® 6 Antennas are versatile. They deliver Wi-Fi/WLAN performance in 2.4GHz, 5GHz, and 6GHz bands supporting both Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E connections. W63RPC1 antennas, as the name suggests, can come in embedded form. They also can be external, easily mounting in plastic enclosures using an adhesive backing and connecting via a 1.33mm coaxial cable. Developers can add the antennas to sensing and remoting monitoring, Internet of Things devices, and smart home networking.

Qorvo QPF4551 5.0GHz Wi-Fi® 6 Front End Module (FEM) is designed for Wi-Fi 6 systems. Developers can beef up access points, wireless routers, residential gateways, premise equipment, and IoT devices. Designers will also appreciate the module's compact size, which minimizes the layout area required for its application. The QPF4551 integrates a 5GHz power amplifier (PA), single-pole two throw switch (SP2T), and bypassable low noise amplifier (LNA) into a single device. The QPF4551 also has range, featuring a 5150MHz to 5850MHz frequency, up to 32dB transmit gain, and a 2.1dB noise figure. The system also has a companion development board available.


When 802.11ac–or what was later marketed as Wi-Fi 5—came out in 2014, the average US household had about five Wi-Fi devices deployed. With video streaming, gaming, video chatting, and smart home devices, the average household now nine Wi-Fi devices. Within a few years, households could average as many as 50 Wi-Fi connections. That's a lot of strain on bandwidth. These devices from Linx Technologies and Qorvo can help widen the bandwidth.

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Tommy Cummings is a freelance writer/editor based in Texas. He's had a journalism career that has spanned more than 40 years. He contributes to Texas Monthly and Oklahoma Today magazines. He's also worked at The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, San Francisco Chronicle, and others. Tommy covered the dot-com boom in Silicon Valley and has been a digital content and audience engagement editor at news outlets. Tommy worked at Mouser Electronics from 2018 to 2021 as a technical content and product content specialist.

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