Wi-Fi 6E LAN module targets embedded medical and IIoT devices - Embedded.com

Wi-Fi 6E LAN module targets embedded medical and IIoT devices

Silex Technology’s new SC-PCEAX is a tri-band wireless LAN combo module that supports Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth v5.2, using Qualcomm QCA2066.

Silex Technology has introduced a new Wi-Fi 6E wireless LAN module designed for improved communications in highly congested environments to deliver reliability, efficiency, and performance needed for IoT devices in factories, warehouses, and medical facilities. 

Built on the latest Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 standards, the new SC-PCEAX module is available in three form factors – M.2, Mini PCI Express, and surface-mount – all of which will obtain module certification in Japan, North America, and Europe. The SX-PCEAX is available immediately for design evaluation and prototyping using NXP and Nvidia enablement platforms.  Mass production and shipping will begin in March 2022. 

The SX-PCEAX is a tri-band (2.4GHz / 5GHz / 6GHz) wireless LAN combo module that supports Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth v5.2, using Qualcomm QCA2066. Wi-Fi 6E extends the benefits of Wi-Fi 6 into the 6 GHz communication spectrum, enhancing speed and reliability. With seven super-wide 160 MHz channels available in Wi-Fi 6E, devices have six times the bandwidth capacity available on Wi-Fi 6 networks running in 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bandwidth. 

The module supports both station and access point modes. It is equipped with a wide range of features unique to Wi-Fi 6, such as orthogonal frequency-division multiple access (OFDMA) and target wake time (TWT), to enable high-speed communication and enhanced communication efficiency and stability of the system. Combining Wi-Fi 6 features with the expansion into 6 GHz communications makes the SX-PCEAX a suitable wireless LAN module for developing next-generation wireless LAN systems.

Silex Technology SX-PCEAX Wi-Fi 6E wireless LAN module
The SC-PCEAX module is available in three form factors – M.2, Mini PCI Express, and surface-mount – all of which will obtain module certification in Japan, North America, and Europe. (Image: Silex Technology)

The Wi-Fi 6E standard moves Wi-Fi communications into the 6GHz spectrum where legacy devices operating in 2.4 and 5 GHz cannot negatively impact the network performance.  Customers designing medical and industrial devices can utilize Wi-Fi 6E for better performance, less crowded networks, and a longer lifecycle for their designs.

A specialist at Phoenix Contact commented, “It is common to find a mix of legacy clients operating on the Wi-Fi network, making the network sub-optimal. Legacy clients are inefficient, and the overhead needed to maintain backward compatibility contributes to further efficiency losses. Wi-Fi 6E does not only make the new products future-proof, but it also does away with the complexities of the past by limiting access to only Wi-Fi 6 and newer protocols in the 6 GHz band. Coupling the Wi-Fi 6 protocol with Wi-Fi 6E spectrum will allow Wi-Fi 6 abilities to shine in a greenfield installation.”

As a Qualcomm design center, Silex provides design support and driver support for operating systems such as Linux and Windows, helping customers port the driver to their specific platforms. The company’s reference platforms for driver evaluation and development are NXP’s iMX 8M and Nvidia’s Jetson AGX Xavier.

The key features of the new SX-PCEAX LAN module are:

  • Wi-Fi 6E (tri-band): devices can operate in the 6 GHz band providing:
    • Six times more capacity than 2.5 and 5 GHz band
    • Seven super wide 160 MHz channels
    • Lower latency, less congestion.
  • Dual-band simultaneous: supports two separate Wi-Fi networks simultaneously using both 2.4- and 5-GHz frequency bands. This doubles the available bandwidth and allows for a more reliable dedicated Wi-Fi network.
  • OFDMA: orthogonal frequency division multiple access (OFDMA) effectively shares channels to increase network efficiency and lower latency for both uplink and downlink traffic in high-demand and dense environments.
  • Multi-user multiple input multiple output (MU-MIMO): this allows more downlink data to be transferred at once and enables an access point to transmit data to a larger number of devices concurrently.
  • Target Wake Time (TWT): significantly improves battery life in Wi-Fi devices, such as internet of things (IoT) devices.

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