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Broadcom fries up '5G' Wi-Fi chips to chuck in your connected car

Supports 802.11ac and Bluetooth LE

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Broadcom's latest chippery supports 802.11ac and Bluetooth LE too – which the company reckons is good enough to warrant calling it "5G" and snatching a chunk of the automotive market.

The claim comes because of the Wi-Fi support, which has a theoretical top speed of 1Gb/sec, and despite the fact that this number was once the criteria for "4G" technologies (since scaled back to allow LTE and WiMAX use the term).

But despite the hyperbolic naming, the new silicon does bring an impressive range of standards to a single die.

As well as the requisite Wi-Fi and Bluetooth standards, the latter incorporating LE so it can sync with one's running shoes, the new chips support Miracast (screen echo) and Passpoint (automated hotspot logon) out of the box – and beamforming (directional radio) too.

Which will be lovely when they drop into a Macbook, but Broadcom would like to focus on what its connectivity can offer the automotive market, which is poised to fill our cars with chips of all sorts over the next year or two.

By 2015, all cars sold in Europe will have to have network connectivity, and once fitted it would be churlish not to use it. Manufacturers are looking at GM's OnStar and FordSync and wondering how they can generate monthly revenue from customers who used to only pay them once.

Broadcom reckons that by 2025 every car will have embedded connectivity, though that prediction comes from the GSMA [PDF], which as a consortium of big mobile operators is hardly impartial.

But however many vehicles it is, they'll need more than just a radio connection to value-add - Broadcom sees the car as a mobile hotspot for its passengers, and wants to help car makers realise that dream. ®

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

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