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Quantenna Communications said it is supplying the chips for ultrafast Wi-Fi routers coming from hardware partners Asus, Mimosa Networks, and Vixs.

The routers can handle data at up to 1.7 gigabits a second, or multiple times faster than typical 802.11ac Wi-Fi wireless networks. The Fremont, Calif.-based Quantenna is making the announcements at the 2014 International CES, the huge tech trade show this week in Las Vegas.

Taiwan-based gadget maker Asus is unveiling its Asus RT-AC87U Wi-Fi home router, which it bills as the world’s fastest Wi-Fi router. It uses Quantenna’s QSR1000 4X4 multiuser multiple input output (MIMO) chip set. For consumers, this means that cheaper and faster Wi-Fi is on its way.

Quantenna designs chips that can transfer data using the Wi-Fi wireless networking protocol at faster rates, making it possible for users to fling high-definition video around the home without worrying about bogging down the network. At 1.7 gigabits a second, the router can transfer data about three times faster than the typical 600 megabits a second for previous-generation 802.11n router chips. Quantenna does that using MIMO, a technique for cramming more data into a wireless network by taking advantage of noise (via beamforming) that would normally cause interference.

“As wireless devices in the home continue to increase and consumers’ reliance on keeping connected at all times to live their daily lives is the norm, the importance people are putting on a great Wi-Fi experience is vastly elevated,” said Tenlong Deng, the associate vice president of networking and wireless devices at Asus. “That’s why we are so pleased to create this latest flagship router product with Quantenna.”

The Asus router uses Quantenna’s 4×4 MU-MIMO chips at the 5 gigahertz band of the wireless spectrum. It promises a larger range as well as faster speed, and that means it should be able to stream high-quality video throughout the home.

Quantenna was founded in 2006 and has raised a whopping $159 million, with funding from Sequoia Capital, Venrock, Sigma Partners, Southern Cross Venture Partners, DAG Ventures, Rusnano, Swisscom Ventures, Grazia Equity, and Telefónica Digital. Rivals include Qualcomm-Atheros, Broadcom, and Marvell. Those companies are all much bigger than Quantenna, but its focus on high-end technology has helped it.

Quantenna has a partnership with chip giant ST Microelectronics.

“With the increasing number of bandwidth-intensive activities occurring at once in the average home, consumers put great value in knowing that their Wi-Fi will deliver the wire-like reliability they need,” said Sam Heidari, the CEO of Quantenna. “We are pleased to partner with Asus to bring the first 802.11ac wave 2 home router to market, expanding our channels to consumers by bringing our Service Provider proven industry-leading performance into the retail segment.”

Meanwhile, Vixs and Quantenna are teaming up to create wireless set-top boxes that can transfer UltraHD 4K TV streams around the home. UltraHD video takes up about four times as much bandwidth as traditional 1080p HD video. Vixs’ XCode 6400 set-top box can decode video at 60 frames per second and can display UltraHD at its full resolution. The XCode 6400 reference design (a prototype that others can use for system designs) will be ready in the first quarter.

And Lastly, Quantenna and Mimosa Networks have teamed up to create a wireless chipset. Both companies will jointly develop chips that bridge the gap between fiberoptic cable and Internet users. Mimosa will launch its products in 2014.


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