The Wi-Fi Alliance and the Wireless Gigabit Alliance (WiGig) today announced they will consolidate activity in the Wi-Fi Alliance.
WiGig can deliver up to 7Gbps in the 60 GHz band, much more than the 802.11ac flavor of Wi-Fi that is now coming out in the 5 GHz band. It is intended mostly for use within a room. Vendors are aiming the system initially at device-to-device functions such as wireless docking, synchronization and linking to displays.
WiGig offers much more than short-range multi-gigabit connections to a television. Mass storage, for example, is expected to connect using the 60 GHz standard. It includes a variety of extension including the high-definition WiGig Display Extensions (WDE), I/O cable replacement with the WiGig Serial Extension (WSE), WiGig Bus Extension (WBE) and WiGig SDIO Extension (WDS).
“Combining the expertise of Wi-Fi Alliance and WiGig Alliance will deliver a terrific user experience with 60 GHz solutions, and will help ensure that a full range of interoperable WiGig solutions reaches the market as quickly as possible,” said Wi-Fi Alliance president and CEO Edgar Figueroa.
Products based on the current state of the technology are set to go on sale early in the year and shouldn’t face problems working with later certified products, according to Mark Grodzinsky, vice president of marketing at Wilocity, a fabless maker of 60GHz chips that has been active in the WiGig Alliance. Wilocity has deals to build its silicon into chipsets from Qualcomm Atheros, Marvell, and other wireless vendors, Grodzinsky said.
The first product to hit the market with the technology will be the Dell Latitude 6430U ultrabook, equipped with a combination Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and pre-standard WiGig chipset from Qualcomm Atheros and Wilocity. Other laptops equipped with it will come soon after.
Here’s a review of evolving WiFi standards:
- IEEE 802.11n: Increased the maximum raw data rate from 54 Mbit/s to 600 Mbit/s by using as many as four spatial streams with a double width channel (40 MHz). MIMO architecture and wider channels improved speeds on 5 GHz and 2.4 GHz channels.
- IEEE 802.11ac: Provides high throughput in the 5 GHz band. It uses 80 MHz and 160 MHz channel bandwidths (vs. 40 MHz maximum in 802.11n) and supports up to 8 spatial streams (vs. 4 in 802.11n)
- IEEE 802.11ad: Now with the WiGig specs folded in, provides high throughput in the 5 GHz band and 60 GHz bands. The 60 GHz band is stopped by walls, so range will be shorter, but the spectrum is wider, supporting nearly 7 Gbps throughput.
- Wireless HD: A trade group led by SiBeam, allows for either compressed (H.264) or uncompressed digital transmission of high-definition video and audio and data signals, essentially making it equivalent of a wireless HDMI. The WirelessHD specification has provisions for content encryption via Digital Transmission Content Protection (DTCP). SiBEAM was acquired by Silicon Image in April 2011
The IEEE 802.11ac and 802.11ad standards may also use of Multi-user MIMO (MU-MIMO), where simultaneous streams are transmitted to different users on the same channels.
In-Stat says nearly 350 million 802.11ac enable devices (routers, client devices, modems etc.) will ship annually by 2015. ABI Research forecasts that by 2016, annual shipments of devices with both Wi-Fi and WiGig technology will reach 1.8 billion.
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