For some time now, one of the hardware components that Intel has made the most money with has been its WiFi radios, which are even used by AMD to provide wireless connectivity to both Internet and WLAN networks. So far we have seen how little by little different interfaces and components have been integrated with each other and even within the SoC or central CPU, but this does not happen in the case of connections without wire such as the WiFi standard where they are integrated into their own chip separate from the main processor.
Why does WiFi need its own chip?
Radiofrequency shielding consists of encapsulation in closed spaces that isolate electronic devices from each other. For this, conductive materials are often used which also block electromagnetic fields and which could cause serious errors in the operation of a processor.
Be it a CPU, GPU or any other type of processor. All of its internal components have a clock speed controlled by an electrical signal whose frequency is in the microwave range. The key is if you could take a radio frequency amplifier that goes from your CPU to a nearby antenna, it would end up emitting radio waves.
Externally, the CPU does not generate radio waves, because the clock signal is generated internally by an oscillator and it would be necessary to have antennas nearby to be able to affect nearby elements. On the other hand, if a wireless radio were inside the same processor without any shielding, we would find that the radiation from the processor itself would eventually affect the signal of the wireless radio.
No obstante, hay diseños que han sido desarrollados para impedir este problema, pero requieren unas normas de diseño distintas al de un circuito integrado convencional y se suelen utilizarse para mercados muy concretos, como fue el caso del Intel Rosepoint, pero suelen a ser la excepción Standard.
Will 5G replace Wi-Fi on PC?
We have to keep in mind that 5G and Wi-Fi interfaces have different uses. While 5G is used for long distance device connectivity, Wi-Fi is used to connect devices over a wireless LAN.
But last year we saw how 5G has seen a huge uptick in implementation around the world, which is to be expected when you consider that this is the next standard. communication in smartphones after 4G. In recent times, routers have appeared not only with the ability to communicate over Wi-Fi to create a local network, but also through 5G, as 5G download speeds already exceed Wi-Fi.
This could mean the medium to long term replacement of Wi-Fi radios and their high level of consumption by 5G radios, which were designed to operate with less power consumption. But they are mostly designed to be used in very narrow spaces between components, which is the case with smartphones.
It is a pity that wireless radios need an antenna placed outside the PC and the processors and SoCs are usually located in the middle part of the motherboard, so this trend will not be reversed despite the fact as in smartphones, wireless radio and SoCs are almost to the touch. Additionally, smartphone SoC-derived laptop designs use the same wireless radios as x86 laptops for the reasons just explained.