Wednesday, February 19, 2020
NetworkingWi-Fi 6

The Wi-Fi 6 on your phone is already out of date, Broadcom announces BCM4389 Wi-Fi 6E client chipset

Wi-Fi 6 is slowly becoming mainstream, most flagship phones this year will have it, including the Xiaomi Mi 10 series and Samsung Galaxy S20. There are also plenty of Wi-Fi 6 routers, and the new Xiaomi AIoT AX3600 is incredibly affordable.

A few weeks ago, it was revealed a newer Wi-Fi 6E version will be coming out will we expand the radio frequency to include a 6Ghz channel. Technically Wi-Fi 6 was always designed to operate up to this channel, so it comes as no surprise for the addition.

Broadcom was obviously already prepping hardware for the use of the new 6Ghz channel, and this week they announced a follow up to their existing  BCM4375 chipset with the BCM4389.

The BCM4375 is a 28nm chipset with 2×2 2.4 GHz and 2×2 5 GHz support that is only compatible with 80MHz channels providing a theoretical 1.429 Gb/s on mobile devices

The BCM4389 reduces the chipset to a 16nm process and adds a third simultaneous band with 2×2 6 GHz support, but it then also adds support for 160MHz wide channels.

Broadcom state the speeds this is capable is 2.4Gbps theoretical and real-life 2.1Gbps as well as a 2x latency benefit. Currently, a PC 2×2 5Ghz Wi-Fi 6 client will connect at about 2.4Gbps and I have experienced real-life transfer speeds of 2.4Gbps so this should go much higher.

The Bluetooth 5.0 functionality has also received a boost with MIMO support. Broadcom claims that the new implementation can reduce pairing time by a factor of 2 and also alleviate glitching issues when connected to Wi-Fi at the same time (compared to the BCM4375). 

There is no word on product availability, but I would expect it to be on phones from next year.

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Maikel Du
I worked in many technical fields, but I always resort to blogging which has become an addiction to me