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Why Qualcomm’s Automotive-Grade Wi-Fi 7 Is Great News for Automakers

Why Qualcomm’s Automotive-Grade Wi-Fi 7 Is Great News for Automakers

The News: Qualcomm Technologies is extending its connectivity lineup with the latest addition to its Snapdragon Auto Connectivity platform, Qualcomm QCA6797AQ, the industry’s first automotive-grade Wi-Fi 7 access point solution. Read the press release on Qualcomm’s news page.

Why Qualcomm’s Automotive-Grade Wi-Fi 7 Is Great News for Automakers

Analyst Take: As next-generation applications and in-vehicle experiences increasingly drive the need for greater capacity, higher data rates, and more robust wireless connections, vehicle connectivity has emerged as an essential foundation of software-defined vehicle (SDV) architectures. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Auto Connectivity platform, which provides a comprehensive portfolio of connectivity solutions that includes cellular 5G/4G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, C-V2X, and precise positioning technologies, is designed to enable Qualcomm’s OEM partners to deliver seamless in-vehicle connectivity experience.

Qualcomm’s introduction of the industry’s first automotive-grade Wi-Fi 7 access point solution to the market is only the latest milestone in the company’s goal to create a full technology solutions stack for automotive OEMs, but a critical one, because Wi-Fi 7 introduces important technological innovations to the market:

  • High Band Simultaneous (HBS)
  • Multi-link Multi-Radio (MLMR)
  • 320 MHz channel bandwidth
  • 4K Quadrature Amplitude Modulation (QAM)
  • Adaptive Puncturing

HBS + MLMR = Improved Connection Reliability

Support for HBS MLMR Wi-Fi 7 significantly reduces the incidence of dropped connections caused by common external interference, often found at congested intersections and near fixed wireless links and tollbooths. It also enables more reliable connections for uninterrupted data transfers and lower latencies by continuously selecting the best available channel between 5 GHz and 6 GHz for each device in the vehicle. This translates into better experiences for streaming, gaming, and other “latency-sensitive applications.”

320 MHz + QAM + Adaptive Puncturing = Higher Capacity and Faster Connectivity

Wi-Fi 7 also improves capacity enabled through the 6 GHz spectrum, opening up 320 MHz channels, and in combination with 4K QAM, Wi-Fi 7 can achieve peak throughputs of up to 5.8 Gbps. This is especially useful to keep high-definition maps downloading fast even as the vehicle is moving. Adaptive Puncturing, for its part, makes more efficient use of the spectrum by granting the vehicle access to a wider channel range even when part of the channel is unavailable. This is important as more Wi-Fi devices in use inside vehicles means more demand for capacity, higher data rates, and lower latencies. Wi-Fi 7 creates a bandwidth on-ramp for these in-vehicle experiences to scale.

Why Connectivity Is the Real MVP of Automotive UX

Over-the air (OTA) software updates are faster with Wi-Fi 7. This means that automotive OEMs can push out software updates and collect vehicle data a lot faster at charging stations, retail locations, and dealerships, both in consumer and commercial markets. Rental companies can also offer enhanced features and customer experiences for limited durations as a premium feature. This also makes fleet management and logistics a lot more reliable and efficient.

“As vehicles increasingly integrate connectivity, automakers and fleet service providers find themselves presented with new opportunities to provide connected services. These services not only create ongoing sources of revenue, but also redefine business models and change the dynamics of how automakers engage with vehicle owners,” Qualcomm explains. This approach to solutions design hits all of the right targets for the value proposition of next-gen vehicle connectivity. With over 450 Wi-Fi 7 design wins across virtually all device categories, Qualcomm is uniquely positioned to bring Wi-Fi 7 enhancements to the automotive sector. The addition of the QCA6797AQ into the Snapdragon Auto Connectivity platform feels like not only the natural next brick in the company’s automotive solutions stack but yet another differentiator for OEMs looking to not only address but leverage real bandwidth, safety, and UX challenges. In the consumer segment, it means fewer UX headaches, enhanced experiences, and a wider on-ramp for service providers. In the commercial segment, it also means more visibility, control, and peace of mind for fleet operators and logistics teams.

Disclosure: The Futurum Group is a research and advisory firm that engages or has engaged in research, analysis, and advisory services with many technology companies, including those mentioned in this article. The author does not hold any equity positions with any company mentioned in this article.

Analysis and opinions expressed herein are specific to the analyst individually and data and other information that might have been provided for validation, not those of The Futurum Group as a whole.

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Author Information

Olivier Blanchard has extensive experience managing product innovation, technology adoption, digital integration, and change management for industry leaders in the B2B, B2C, B2G sectors, and the IT channel. His passion is helping decision-makers and their organizations understand the many risks and opportunities of technology-driven disruption, and leverage innovation to build stronger, better, more competitive companies.  Read Full Bio.

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