Qualcomm is a brand name that is well-known among virtual reality (VR) enthusiasts, with its Snapdragon line of processors being used in a number of VR and augmented reality (AR) devices. Now the company has announced a new family of 60GHz WiFi chips that are set to improve the VR experience.
The new family of chips, the QCA64x8 and QCA64x1, are capable of delivering speeds of over 10Gbps. They use the WiFi 802.11ay standard, which experts say can potentially exceed the speed of most home Ethernet connections, as most major cities in the USA have internet speeds that are no faster than 1Gbps.
The related 802.11ad standard at 60Ghz has been used before, with some routers having been on the market previously. However, customers found that it had a limited range, and was subject to interference. The 802.11ay standard is said to eliminate some of these problems, with some tests showing a range of over 300 meters, though penetration through walls remains an issue.
VR is noted as being one potential use case. In particular, the new Qualcomm chips could have potential use for wireless VR, since the speed of the transmission would ensure that the VR experience remained smooth and uninterrupted for the user.
Transmission devices using the 60Ghz WiFi chips could be attached to VR headsets such as the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive, or incorporated directly into successor devices which would allow VR users to experience VR untethered, as long as the remained in reach of their PC.
Qualcomm also says that the new 60GHz standard can support WiFi sensing applications, such as gesture recognition, room mapping, location detection and facial feature detection, several of these features also have implications for VR and AR.
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