WiGig spec released, Wi-Fi Alliance joins the fun

Almost exactly five months ago, we told you all about the freshly completed WiGig specification, which promised 7Gbps Wi-Fi for all—not to mention goodies like wireless HDMI and DisplayPort. What’s gone down at the WiGig Alliance since then? Quite a lot, actually. The organization has announced that the WiGig specification is now complete, and it has partnered up with the Wi-Fi Alliance on a logo and certification program for the technology.

In the words of the official announcement, "adopter members can now begin developing wireless products that use the unlicensed 60 GHz spectrum to deliver multi-gigabit-speed wireless communications." The Alliance adds that there are no royalties or fees involved in building a radio, which should hopefully motivate hardware makers to join in.

We asked the WiGig folks to paint a rough picture of release schedules for WiGig-based products. Precise information remains under wraps for now, unfortunately, but we were told the spec has been "fairy stable" since December, and that third parties should start talking about their product plans in the upcoming year. The first products will pretty much supplant existing Wi-Fi implementations; the separate wireless display spec isn’t actually coming out until the end of this year or thereabouts.

Meanwhile, the Wi-Fi Alliance has committed to the development of a "next-generation . . . certification program supporting Wi-Fi® operation in the 60 GHz frequency band." The two organizations expect that most, "if not all," 60GHz products will be backward-compatible with existing 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi standards. Certification should help make that happen smoothly. As we wrote last year, WiGig should have a range of only 30 to 60 feet, so being able to fall back to regular Wi-Fi channels seems like a key feature.

Comments closed
    • gtoulouzas
    • 9 years ago

    Let’s hope it does not turn into the debacle that was 802.11n.

    • rootbear
    • 9 years ago

    I’m still wondering what it means to be “fairy stable”. Is this different from “elf stable” or “dwarf stable”?

      • Meadows
      • 9 years ago

      Maybe they quoted it verbatim? 😉

      • yogibbear
      • 9 years ago

      Most specs continue to oppress fairies for ages and ages to come. This is why they are a dying breed and you have to go to a carnival to find one hidden underneath a unicorn.

    • BooTs
    • 9 years ago

    I’m looking forward to the inevitable security issues related with your display signal being broadcast over the air instead of in a wire. Why sniff wireless TCP/IP packets when you can just watch someones wireless HDMI/DP stream?

    Wireless is cool and all – but it doesn’t always make sense.

      • burntham77
      • 9 years ago

      Perhaps the spec will adopt the kind of security you see on Cisco routers, where you just press a button on the router then on whatever is trying to connect to make the connection.

      • d2brothe
      • 9 years ago

      You can snoop whats on your screen without it being wireless, just read up on Van Eck Phreaking. It still works, albeit more difficultly with LCD monitors. Security is a joke anyways, one should always target the weakest link: §[< http://xkcd.com/538/<]§

      • Shining Arcanine
      • 9 years ago

      Oxygen absorbs 60GHz radio frequencies, so that issue is minimized.

    • liquidsquid
    • 9 years ago

    I suppose the only real advantage I see is not having to run wires within your computer’s box, just power. Maybe you wont need the single box, just a bunch of small odds and ends near each other to connect. Hard drives, video/physics accelerators, ethernet, camera, etc. Upgrading the video card may be as simple as placing a video “box” near the CPU and monitors. I could see this easily. Makes PC components become a commodity rather than the entire PC.

    This would be cool IMHO, but it remains impractical due to how easy it would be to steal those components. A large tower? Hard to steal. A small nVidia 3D accelerator desired by all gaming nerds in the world? Easy.

    But PC to PC or room to room at these frequencies? Not likely. You would be better off taking the effort to run some fiber. At least that will remain connected when someone walks between you and the other PC. Likely the family pet will find a good napping spot where it blocks the signal completely. A nail of the right length in the wall would be enough to squash the field locally. It is just a very impractical band. Perhaps these guys should consult with HAMs who have struggled to make point-to-point connections at these frequencies for years.

    • Usacomp2k3
    • 9 years ago

    “Wireless HDMI” is a misnomer. HDMI is a controlled terminology and there is no standard for “Wireless HDMI”. It would be more accurate to say “Wireless for HDMI” as that is perfectly fine.

      • Sahrin
      • 9 years ago

      errr…no, not so much. HDMI is an interconnect specification which includes many individual parts; among them is a controller design, signaling and encoding method, content protection scheme, connectors, and cables.

      Saying “wireless HDMI” means that it’s HDMI without the need of the ‘cabled’ part of the spec. Sounds perfectly reasonable to me.

    • Hattig
    • 9 years ago

    I had to install homeplug networking kit in my house to get internet in the office. The wifi signal couldn’t penetrate two thick brick inner walls inside the house (an old Victorian era building, so built very conservatively!).

    This has problems communicating through air! Brilliant.

    I’m glad they have a logo. Maybe it is of a signal fading out.

    • bdwilcox
    • 9 years ago

    Great. Another ultra-fast spec that manifests as mundane real-world performance.

      • gooch02000
      • 9 years ago

      That’s what I’m getting from this.

    • UberGerbil
    • 9 years ago

    The specification is the easy part. There are a lot of practical hurdles to doing this with real circuits in the real world. RF at 60Hz is blocked by pretty much anything solid; in fact, ordinary air (particularly O2) is pretty opaque at those frequencies and a signal at reasonable power attenuates within a few meters. So you’re not going to have a single WiGig access point in a house like you have with WiFi — you’re going to need repeaters, probably one plugged into a wall socket in pretty much every room talking to each other through reflections in some kind of mesh network — or (initially, before things get that sophisticated) just plugged into your gigE wired backbone.
    §[< http://domino.watson.ibm.com/comm/research_projects.nsf/pages/mmwave.apps.html< ]§ From a practical standpoint this is going to replace point-to-point connections before it replaces general communications like WiFi -- ie, things like the wireless displays will happen first (even if the specs aren't coming out in that order). There are a bunch of issues involved with just getting digital and analog circuits to operate at these speeds, too (not to mention the necessary D/A and A/D to bridge them). Not least being the power requirements (power goes up with frequency) and cost (it's much easier to hit these speeds with germanium, but that's much more expensive than good old CMOS silicon). There are some cool things that can be done with electronically steered antennas to make things more efficient but that doesn't change how fundamentally difficult this stuff is, especially within the constraints of small, battery-powered devices like phones or laptops. This IEEE article is a couple of years old but the issues haven't changed (though progress has been made) §[<http://spectrum.ieee.org/consumer-electronics/standards/gadgets-gab-at-60-ghz<]§

      • [+Duracell-]
      • 9 years ago

      It’s 60 *[

        • Meadows
        • 9 years ago

        Lol, our resident guru has been owned.

          • Forge
          • 9 years ago

          Some guy called “[+Duracell-]” is now “our resident guru”? Geez, things really have gone downhill while I’ve been away.

            • Meadows
            • 9 years ago

            Nobody said that.

            • Trymor
            • 9 years ago

            Not everyone will infer as much as you did into that post. Maybe thats they guys way of helping, and he just says everything ‘matter-of-factly’, and didn’t mean anything derogatory, but then again, nobody knows but him.

            Try

            • designerfx
            • 9 years ago

            you should work on reading comprehension.

        • BooTs
        • 9 years ago

        I think that’s what he meant, and that 60 gigahertz is blocked by a lot of stuff. Just a typo I think.

          • UberGerbil
          • 9 years ago

          Yeah, I dropped a G. The limitations I was describing are those of RF in the 60GHz band.

            • Lans
            • 9 years ago

            Not a big deal since if anyone bothered to click on link (I only read the IEEE one so far) would realized it is describing 60Ghz issues. Also I would think most people would guess there is some transmission challenges with:

            “/[

      • Squeazle
      • 9 years ago

      You’re right, why would they consider those basic things that took you seconds to dig up on the internet. What a waste of 5 months.

        • Contingency
        • 9 years ago

        Yeah, those silly engineers have nothing on the average tech news commenter.

        (it’s not a replacement for Wi-Fi)

      • Trymor
      • 9 years ago

      Any studies on that frequency at close proximity to human beings?

      Try

      • Trymor
      • 9 years ago

      l[<-- ie, things like the wireless displays will happen first (even if the specs aren't coming out in that order).<]l Already there are multiple 'wireless HDMI' adaptors on the market, including being built in to certain 'TV's', and apparently works well from the little I read about it. At least the $600 Rocketfish set operates at 60 GHz, and I assume this is similar to the WiGig tech. I like the 30 ft. distance, as it pretty much guarantees no one will be on my wireless net unless they are in my house... Try

    • Rakhmaninov3
    • 9 years ago

    This is gonna be cool, it’d be awesome for centralizing all your home’s computing to one box without having to run miles of cabling.

      • UberGerbil
      • 9 years ago

      Don’t count on it — unless your home is small and has no interior walls.

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