Quantenna snaps up $79M for new, improved Wi-Fi chips

As more families add devices to their Wi-Fi network, Quantenna wants to be the name in connectivity

Technology trends and news by Krystal Peak
April 17, 2012
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Quantenna, a company building Wi-Fi chips, has created a disruptive technology that has spurred a mammoth $79 million funding round to place the company in direct competition with the big boys Broadcom, Marvell, and Qualcomm-Atheros. This funding round, led by new lead investor RUSNANO, also included participation by a second new investor Bright Capital. All existing major investors, Sequoia Capital, DAG Ventures, Grazia Equity, Sigma Partners, Southern Cross Venture Partners and Venrock Associates have also participated in the financing. RUSNANO will invest up to $40 million and Sequoia Capital Growth Fund will contribute $20 million.

Prior to this round, Quantenna raised $90 million from Sequoia Capital, Venrock, Sigma Partners, Southern Cross Venture Partners, DAG Ventures, Swisscom Ventures, Grazia Equity, and Telefónica Digital.  

Quantenna plans to use the new injection of money to expand its engineering and production teams so that it can scale up and improve upon its already promising technology.

Founded in 2006, the Fremont, Calif.-based Quantenna built this technology called the 4×4 MIMO 802.11n Wi-Fi chip set, which creates a “wire-like” speed for wireless consumers. So if you are looking to stream an HD movie with Quantenna Wi-Fi, it will match the performance seen  with broadband connections.

Providing up to four device, simultaneously streaming over a Wi-Fi connection is something that Quantenna has worked on and succeeded, an astonishing accomplishment since my house has trouble viewing Netflix in two different rooms. And my house isn't the only one trying to consume multiple media options in various corners of the dwelling, Wi-Fi is quickly becoming the default way to stay connected in the home -- with an estimated 3 billion devices expected to be connected to Wi-FI by 2015, according to researcher  by Gartner. 

Quantenna has also worked on providing better range for Wi-Fi users since many families have a single router but people utilizing it all over the house.

Quantenna chipsets have already gone into product of various customers including AirTies, Gemtek, Motorola, Netgear, Sigma Designs, Swisscom, Technicolor and Telefónica.

Since Quantenna is in the same field as companies that have ben building Wi-Fi and other computer technology for more than 20 years, it is a testament of their innovation and technology that they have been able to vastly improve on a service that has been slow to catch up with the demand for faster and more versatile connectivity. 

The company is currently working on another, faster generation of Wi-Fi chips, called the 802.11ac. Quantenna hopes that this newer version will be released late this year or next year -- providing a new all-time high in speed of 360 megabits per second.

With the growing trend of people consuming video online only getting stronger -- video alone is expected to reach about 90% of global traffic, according to Cisco's 2011 Visual Networking Index Forecast -- the need for better methods of delivery provide Quantenna a great marketing position. 



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