WiGig Alliance completes 7Gbps wireless spec

If all goes according to plan, super-fast wireless networking could be just around the corner. The Wireless Gigabit Alliance has announced the completion of the very first unified multi-gigabit wireless specification, which uses a 60GHz frequency and enables speeds of up to 7Gbps (almost 900MB/s) over short distances—that’s more than ten times the speed of the existing 802.11n standard.

The WiGig specification is "now ready for member review," the Alliance says, and it should be available to WiGig member adopters in the first quarter of next year. A total of 30 companies are already backing the standard: Nvidia, AMD, SK Telecom, and TMC joined the Alliance this quarter, and older members include Atheros, Broadcom, Dell, Intel, LG, Marvell, Microsoft, NEC, Nokia, Panasonic, Realtek, Ralink, Samsung, Texas Instruments, Toshiba, and more. Yes, that’s about all of the big industry players.

WiGig is designed to be backward compatible with the existing 802.11n standard. Once WiGig-enabled devices start hitting the market, they should be able to switch seamlessly from multi-gigabit 60GHz WiGig to slower 2.4 or 5GHz Wi-Fi as they get out of range. Within 30 to 60 feet of an access point, depending on the implementation, users may be able to enjoy gigabit speeds. Any further from the base than that, the wireless device will likely switch over to 802.11n, which has a range of up to 300 feet or so. (As with WiGig, though, speed drops with distance.)

Users shouldn’t need to re-authenticate when switching between WiGig and Wi-Fi, either, because WiGig encryption is also backward compatible with WPA2. The WiGig Alliance did have to "enhance" the current standard to avoid running into performance bottlenecks, though.

Best of all, WiGig hardware shouldn’t make laptops more expensive or less mobile. WiGig Board Director and marketing chief Chair Mark Grodzinsky told us WiGig wireless LAN devices will have similar power and cost envelopes to existing 802.11n products.

Ultra-fast wireless has uses other than plain old networking and file sharing, too. The WiGig Alliance also intends to enable wireless HDMI and DisplayPort connectivity. With all three major graphics hardware vendors—AMD, Intel, and Nvidia—backing the standard, you can probably count on being able to connect TVs and monitors to next-gen PCs wirelessly before too long.

Because the specification enables both high-performance and low-power applications, WiGig will also show up on smart phones. On those devices, the technology could have uses like connecting to a television or transferring music and video files from a PC wirelessly. Grodzinsky seemed hopeful that next-generation smart phones with fast processors will be speedy enough to take advantage of WiGig.

So, where does the Wi-Fi Alliance stand in all this? The two entities are separate, but they are talking to each other, and they share many of the same members. Grodzinsky portrayed the two bodies as complementary: the Wi-Fi Alliance focuses more on certification, he said, while the WiGig Alliance is focusing on spec development. Once the dust settles, the Wi-Fi alliance could potentially end up certifying WiGig products.

Comments closed
    • wira020
    • 10 years ago

    I wish wireless electricity is also coming soon.. i know some wireless charger (dock is wired still, so 50% wireless maybe ) had came out… then i can a fully wireless house… and maybe a tumor… 😛

    • lycium
    • 10 years ago

    this sounds amazing… except for the name, which does /[

    • crazybus
    • 10 years ago

    I think I found a better use for the 60 GHz spectrum. Rayguns.

    §[<http://www.google.com/patents/about?id=EfwZAAAAEBAJ<]§

    • Meadows
    • 10 years ago

    So we’re looking at a theoretical 834 MiB/s here – holy future-proofing, Batman!
    At the current rate, I’d wager this spec will be mainstream for about 20 years.

      • khands
      • 10 years ago

      Nah, increasing the range (and therefor, being a different spec) will be a high priority.

    • anotherengineer
    • 10 years ago

    and this is totally useless for now lol

    my network is only 1 gig anyway

    • Sumache
    • 10 years ago

    Hmmm…. Sony is noticeably absent from that list.

    Wonder what they’ll come up with now.

      • Contingency
      • 10 years ago

      Sony’s on WirelessHD.

    • UberGerbil
    • 10 years ago

    Am I the only person that keeps (mentally) parsing/pronouncing this as “wig…ig”

      • derFunkenstein
      • 10 years ago

      must be – with the first g being capital, it’s easy to see it’s Why-Gig.

        • Xylker
        • 10 years ago

        Not so fast, my friend /Lee Corso

        I read Wig the first time and the second…

          • tfp
          • 10 years ago

          I read Wii and wondered why they had those goofy looking Gs in the background.

      • crazybus
      • 10 years ago

      I read it the same way. It’s a terrible name and the logo is ugly. I hope they don’t try to market it this way whenever actual product shows up.

    • shank15217
    • 10 years ago

    I very much doubt most hope pc’s would even be able to push more than 500 MBps across any network link.

      • mcnabney
      • 10 years ago

      Yeah, I get excited when I can push more than 100MB/s across gigabit ethernet. Of course, saturation is 125MB/s on gigabit and I really doubt the equipment I have can really utilize 100% of theoretical capacity.

      • Trymor
      • 10 years ago

      By the time they finalize it, we will be closer to being able to saturate the bandwidth…

    • mcnabney
    • 10 years ago

    30-60′ range.
    This sounds more like Bluetooth ranges.
    Pass

    This would be great for electronics connectivity though. No wires connecting your HDTV, cable box, receiver, HTPC, BD player and game console. Just plug into the wall and go!

    But as a WiFi option, the range is too terrible.

      • shank15217
      • 10 years ago

      That is the point, its a fast PAN and a fast Wifi service in one. Its death to bluetooth.

        • mcnabney
        • 10 years ago

        Well, at least this trade group isn’t dragging their feet through the mud like the whole Pre-N debacle. They need to get Sony, Matsushita, and Samsung in on this now.

          • Palek
          • 10 years ago

          Matsushita got renamed to Panasonic (whereas before Panasonic was just one of the many Matsushita brands), and they are mentioned as one of the older members.

        • indeego
        • 10 years ago

        Which isn’t that hard to do. BT sucks donkey claviclesg{<.<}g

        • alphaGulp
        • 10 years ago

        Bluetooth is/was designed for different power envelopes, so for small battery-operated wireless devices that are near their signal, it remains the better option in most cases.

      • internetsandman
      • 10 years ago

      I dunno. it depends on the usage. I’m sure a WiGig home router would be quite popular, especially once laptops adopt the standard. Hell, I’m pretty sure it’d be popular even for full-blown desktop users, even if most people can only reach half the maximum theoretical bandwidth. Correct me if I’m wrong but this is 7 times faster than current max speeds of Gb ethernet, and as the article states, ten times faster that the 802.11n spec. Bluetooth, in all the iterations I’ve seen, is basically wireless USB for all the speed you get out of it. If the devices that use this new spec can reach even a quarter of their max bandwidth, it’s still a significant improvement, even if you take range into account.

    • Spotpuff
    • 10 years ago

    So we can expect speeds of up to 10MB/s then?

      • StashTheVampede
      • 10 years ago

      “up to 7Gbps (almost 900MB/s) over short distances”

      10MB/sec is pretty weak, but still not really pushable with wireless. With this sucker, I’m hoping 10MB/sec is the lowest!

        • Welch
        • 10 years ago

        I’m not sure what you mean by 10MB/s…… He did say 7gb/s… thats bits, not Bytes… which equates to 900MB/s, Bytes not bits. Its the rules of 8, if it had been 8gb/s then you would be getting speeds of 1Gigabyte a second when your in the 30-60 foot range, pretty darn good for in-home use and small LAN for moving files.

    • Hattig
    • 10 years ago

    60GHz … will that be able to penetrate walls, or sheets of paper even?

      • AlvinTheNerd
      • 10 years ago

      60Ghz really isn’t an issue with the majority of materials. There are two things that become problems at this frequency:

      1.while interaction is unlikely, it is not quantumly low. Thus over long distances (more than a hundred feet) there will be significant signal degradation.

      2. There are certain materials that have a high absorption probability. In this case, it would be certain very long plastic chains. PP, PS, PC and most plastics aren’t an issue, but nylon might be. I don’t know enough organic chemistry to be sure about this, but certain polymer molecules should be long enough to interact with 60Ghz.

      However, it seems like wigig is the first new standard that has a much shorter range, or even a less improved range over the previous standard and it seems to be due to frequency compromises. Thus at short end, a high frequency is used and at longer distances, lower slower frequencies are used. There is not a loss over 802.11n, just not an enhancement at long distances.

      • Bauxite
      • 10 years ago

      Frequency response or opaqueness of multiple materials (wood, metal, concrete, air, etc) is not a simple curve of “starts good at X and gets worse towards Y”.

    • adisor19
    • 10 years ago

    The article sounds like pure PR from the marketing genius from the Wigig organization. Is this “wigig” thing 802.11ac ?! Is it even an open standard to begin with ?!

    Adi

      • Contingency
      • 10 years ago

      Not 802.11ac, or IEEE for that matter.

      The process is not much different from other interoperability groups.

      Companies come together to agree on a standard,
      standard is codified,
      companies that aren’t part of the group pay a licensing fee to use the tech in their specific implementation,
      improvements to the standard are phased by using incremental revisions.

      It works fairly well, provided companies don’t try to go proprietary.

    • Buzzard44
    • 10 years ago

    “…designed to be backward compatible with the existing 802.11n standard…”

    Whoa, when did 802.11n become a standard? Last I checked, there is no official 802.11n spec, just a bunch of devices using an early draft (2.0) drawn up in 2007. I’m still waiting on an official spec to be released before I upgrade my wireless from g.

      • deputy dawg
      • 10 years ago

      It looks like it’s official as of September 11, 2009:
      §[<http://www.ieee.org/web/aboutus/news/2009/11september.html<]§

        • Buzzard44
        • 10 years ago

        Seems like I missed the boat.

      • Ricardo Dawkins
      • 10 years ago

      LOL, so you decide to wake up from your hiatus at the end of 2009. 😀

      • jhm
      • 10 years ago

      Wellll, now that “gigafast” connections are on the horizon, might as well wait for that to be finalized 🙂

      • Farting Bob
      • 10 years ago

      802.11n is finalised, and the products based on the draft versions work fine and integrate seemlessly with later n spec parts. But hey, enjoy your slow-ass wifi.

      • Neutronbeam
      • 10 years ago
      • Sargent Duck
      • 10 years ago

      I was using a draft-N router/card back in 2007 (D-Link DIR-655). No problems.

        • Disco
        • 10 years ago

        that’s the same router I have. Has worked great for >1yr.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 10 years ago

    That’s awesome, especially for home wifi users that might be trying to do things like back up wirelessly to home servers and the like, or stream HD videos to HTPCs.

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