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WiGig gets spec and Alliance endorsement

Wi-Fi Alliance, not Rebel Alliance

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WiGig is open for business, with a published specification and promotional agreement to push home and office networking up to 60GHz.

WiGig offers connections of up to 7Gb/sec, but operating at the top end of the dial, 60GHz, makes for very short range. WiGig will carry over about 10 meters in ideal conditions, limiting the application of the technology to cable-replacement even if it can replace a very-fat cable.

The agreement with the Wi-Fi Alliance includes sharing technical specifications and, more importantly, paints WiGig as part of the Wi-Fi family of standards. Wi-Fi has broad recognition as being a good thing: beyond the control of overpriced cellular operators and providing connectivity to the common man, which is why so many technologies are keen to be associated with it.

The white space crowd keep using terms like "Wi-Fi on steroids" and "white-fi", to associate themselves with Wi-Fi, but that's not nearly as good as slapping the Wi-Fi Alliance logo on the box.

WiGig isn't the only technology hoping to connect up homes and businesses at 60GHz, WirelessHD kit is already on the shelves, and there are a few technologies competing to stream HD video between decoding devices and high-definition screens: the killer application for a 7Gb/sec connection speed possible using WiGig.

Given the short range of 60GHz devices the technologies are unlikely to interfere with each other, and will likely coexist for a while before the industry settles on a standard. WirelessHD certainly has the first-mover advantage, but it would be foolish to underestimate the importance of the Wi-Fi Alliance logo.

Not that 60GHz transmissions are legal in the UK just yet - UK regulator Ofcom has said that a decent-sized block should be available for licence-free use by the middle of the year, for those who don't live too near the three MoD sites excluded from the regulation (South Uist, bottom tip of Wales and RAF North Luffernham).

With specifications now available the WiGig partners will be able to start making devices, most of which are expected to support 802.11b/g at 2.4GHz, 802.1a at 5GHz and WiGig at 60GHz which will lead to the creation go a new "Tri-Band Wi-Fi" logo from the Alliance. ®

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