Mobile

Qualcomm launches an Internet processor for networks

Above: Qualcomm gadgets

Image Credit: Qualcomm
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Qualcomm is announcing today a new Qualcomm Internet Processor (IPQ) that will bring much faster performance to networking devices like home gateways, routers, and media servers.

The new chip features a dual-core Krait application processor with a new packet processor engine. That means it will enable a line of faster “smart home” devices. Qualcomm is touting the chip at its annual meeting with analysts today.

The IPQ product comes from Qualcomm Atheros, the division created after it acquired Atheros Communications for $3.1 billion two years ago. While wireless networks are getting faster, the actual throughput, or real networking performance, is often a lot lower than the theoretical maximum because the computing processors associated with the router or gateway are underpowered, said Todd Antes, the vice president of product management at Qualcomm Atheros, in an interview with VentureBeat.

“We believe a gateway or router device in a home needs to keep up,” Antes said. “The last couple of years, that has been driven by video.”

Overall, the technology will support data transfer rates of 5 gigabits per second across a variety of networks. That’s as much as three times the typical data rate.

The IPQ product line is aimed at handling the networking traffic related to next-generation networks full of video, sensor, or game content. That traffic is only expected to grow in the future.

The new chips will also enable new revenue opportunities for service providers by delivering new services such as security and surveillance. It will fit with the trend toward the “Internet of things,” a vision of the future where sensors monitor everything. It will fit in a scheme where you use your networking equipment to control your home automation settings and personal cloud.

Antes said the combination of Atheros and Qualcomm technology has enabled a better overall solution.

“We’re bringing some of the techniques of the mobile world into the network world,” Antes said. “So this device can scale down to low frequency and power when it is in standby mode.”

The first IPQ processors, the IPQ8062 and IPQ8064, are built in a 28-nanometer manufacturing process and will get 70 percent greater performance-per-watt than the nearest rival. The chips will be in commercial products in the first half of 2014.

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