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Wi-Fi 7 and 5G present significant IoT potential for low-cost rural connectivity: Qualcomm

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In Short:

Qualcomm is focusing on Wi-Fi 7 and 5G technology, aiming to provide inexpensive connectivity in rural India through IoT. The new technology has been tested with Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio networks. It offers high throughput and can be used for applications like smart agriculture and telemedicine. Qualcomm has already opened a Wi-Fi center of excellence in Chennai with an investment of nearly Rs 180 crores.

New Delhi: The US chipset maker Qualcomm Inc. is optimistic about the potential of Wi-Fi 7 and fifth-generation (5G) technology in driving opportunities in the Internet of Things (IoT) sector, especially in enabling affordable connectivity in rural India.

Opportunities in IoT Space

“There is a huge opportunity from an IoT point of view with both Wi-Fi 7 and 5G. One big aspect is connecting rural India in a very inexpensive way through a reduced capacity modem giving up to 200 megabits per second broadband connectivity,” said Rahul Patel, Group General Manager – Connectivity, Broadband & Networking at Qualcomm Technologies.

Partnerships with Indian Operators

Qualcomm has already collaborated with Indian operators like Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio to test the new Wi-Fi technology. It aims to work closely with telecom carriers to bring Wi-Fi into their networks, particularly focusing on reduced capacity (RedCap) modems.

Features of Wi-Fi 7

The next generation of Wi-Fi operates across 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz, and 6 GHz frequency bands, offering extremely high throughput (EHT) capabilities. This technology is competitive, cost-effective, and has the potential to bridge the digital divide, supporting IoT applications such as telemedicine and smart agriculture.

Global Adoption of Wi-Fi 7

Qualcomm has seen over 400 designs worldwide utilizing Wi-Fi 7 technology, with products like Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra, Netgear routers, and TP-Link routers already in the market. Networking devices like Xiaomi Router 10000, Ruckus R770 Access Point, and Zyxel BE 22000 Pro Access Point are powered by Qualcomm Wi-Fi 7.

Chennai Wi-Fi Center of Excellence

In a strategic move, Qualcomm recently inaugurated a Wi-Fi Center of Excellence in Chennai with an initial investment of nearly Rs 180 crores (1.8 billion). This initiative aligns with the Indian government’s focus on innovation and local manufacturing.

Future Outlook

While confident in the capabilities of current Wi-Fi technology, Patel also expressed optimism about potential innovations that may emerge from the Chennai development center. Chipsets like Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, and Taiwanese rival MediaTek Dimensity 9200 and 9300 are already gearing up for Wi-Fi 7 compatibility.

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