Qualcomm FastConnect 7800 Delivers World's First Wi-Fi 7 Solution For Up To 5.8Gbps Throughput

Qualcomm FastConnect 7800
Qualcomm is making at splash at Mobile World Congress with what it claims is the world's first and fastest commercial Wi-Fi 7 solution. The next-gen wireless standard is baked into its FastConnect 7800 mobile connectivity subsystem, which is intended to bring advanced Wi-Fi technologies and next-generation Dual Bluetooth audio to power a new era of immersive experiences.

Or put another way, FastConnect 7800 is the bridge that connects future devices to the faster wireless speeds, low latency, and advanced audio protocols that will play key roles in pushing connected experiences forward, such as extended reality (XR), social cloud-based gaming, 8K video streaming, and simultaneous video conferencing and casting.

While Qualcomm shied away from referencing the rapidly expanding metaverse with today's announcement, you can bet that device makers will tie the two together when the time comes. Of course, the industry is still getting its feet wet with Wi-Fi 6E and even Wi-Fi 6, but the march of technology is relentlessly fast. So what's the big deal with Wi-Fi 7?

Qualcomm FastConnect 7800 Multi-Link slide
A key component is support for high band simultaneous (HBS) multi-links. This leverages a pair of Wi-Fi radios for four streams of high band connectivity in the 5GHz and/or 6GHz bands. Qualcomm says FastConnect 7800 supports all multi-link modes, and with HBS Multi-Link users can expect ultra-low latency (less than 2ms), with interference and jitter free connections, and speeds up to 5.8Gbps using 320MHz channels in the 6GHz spectrum, and 240MHz channels in the 5GHz spectrum.

FastConnect 7800 also builds on Qualcomm's 4-stream dual-band simultaneous (2x2 + 2x2) with 5GHz and/or 6GHz Wi-Fi links used together to deliver extreme low latency between the access point and client. So if a device connects to a Wi-Fi 6/6E access point for a 2x2 backhaul in high band spectrum, it can concurrently connect to an XR headset for a 2x2 fronthaul, thereby avoiding the congestion of legacy 2.4GHz channels.

That said, FastConnect is also backwards compatible with 2.4GHz of course. When making full use of the advanced features, though, Qualcomm says its SoC can deliver 30-50 percent power savings "for the most demanding sustained Wi-Fi use cases."

FastConnect 7800 Harnesses Dual Bluetooth And Snapdragon Sound

Snapdragon Sound slide
While Wi-Fi 7 is the primary draw of Qualcomm's FastConnect 7800 SoC, it's not the only feature. Qualcomm is also pitching this as a way to deliver next-gen Bluetooth audio experiences.

"FastConnect 7800 is a connectivity system for more than just Wi-Fi, It delivers superior wireless audio; Snapdragon Sound technology, Bluetooth LE Audio, and Bluetooth 5.3 get a significant boost with Intelligent Dual Bluetooth for two streams of premium audio. Dual Bluetooth means you get reliable CD lossless quality wireless audio, more immersive gaming experiences, and better connections overall," Qualcomm explains.

Snapdragon Sound is essentially an end-to-end audio system. Announced in conjunction with FastConnect 7800, Qualcomm says it upgraded its Snapdragon Sound system with two new audio platforms, those being S5 Sound (QCC517x) and S3 Sound (QCC307x).

Qualcomm says its upgraded platform will, for the first time, bring lossless 16-bit CD quality audio to wireless earbuds. It's also claiming up to twice the compute and three times the memory optimization for improved AI-powered noise cancellation features that eliminate background distractions. There are some new modes too, including a gaming mode with 68ms low latency audio (25 percent lower than the previous gen) and a voice back channel for in-game chat, along with a stereo recording mode for dual mic solutions.

It's not clear how soon device makers will incorporate the FastConnect 7800 platform into future gadgets, though several notable customers are on board, including ASUS, Facebook/Meta, Oppo, and others.