Feeds

WTF is... WiGig

Wireless wonder to soup up networks, kill USB, HDMI cables?

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

Room to roam

Getting a signal through impermeable walls is another matter. Handy, then, that Wi-Fi is part of the scheme, since it provides a fall-back network when a connected device moves out of line-of-sight of the base-station.

Unconcerned by distance considerations, VESA, the organisation behind the DisplayPort digital monitor connectivity standard selected WiGig as the basis for a wireless version of the computer-to-screen system, which the WGA duly announced, in November 2010, as WiGig AV.

Since then, the WGA has published WiGig 1.1 and extended the specification to allow it to operate as a transport for PCI Express and USB traffic, as the WiGig Bus Extension (WBE) and the WiGig Serial Extension (WSE), respectively. WiGig AV became WiGig Display Extension (WDE), adding HDMI support in the processes.

Look, ma: no USB, HDMI or DisplayPort cables

It sounds like the ideal wireless data technology. Support for high-speed networking combined with built-in compatibility with the existing de facto standard – which also handily allows it cope with its limitations – and it's able to operate as a wireless carrier for a variety of cable protocols.

It's WiGig's Protocol Adaption Layers (PALs) that allow it to operate as a wireless replacement for a variety of wires, from USB to DisplayPort and HDMI. Since it'll carry PCIe traffic too, it could even form the basis for wireless Thunderbolt. Range is not an issue here and neither is bandwidth. WiGig supports device-to-device connections, so there's no need to router cable-replacement traffic through a base-station.

So why, two years on from the releases of WiGig 1.0 don't we have it yet? Ali Sadri, an Intel boffin who happens to be the WGA's Chairman and President, admits the development of the hardware that will deliver the standard is "absolutely taking longer than it was originally thought".

Difficult birth

Getting an entirely new radio system to work is not easy - and that's before engineers then have to make sure it adheres to the formal specification and works with devices from other vendors. Much of the plugfest activity in the past year or so has centred on that kind of testing.

"This is all-new technology," says Sadri, "not an incremental update to an existing standard. Every piece of the specification needs testing. We've had to proceed slowly, step by step. WiGig chipsets are not simple; we couldn't have shipped them this year or last year."

The technology sports a new MAC, he says, designed to be "more TDMA-like" (Time Division Multiple Access) than Wi-Fi has been, a trick learned from the cellular and WiMax worlds, and with quality-of-service and low-power operation at the heart of it.

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Reg man looks through a Glass, darkly: Google's toy ploy or killer tech specs?
Tip: Put the shades on and you'll look less of a spanner
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Now that's FIRE WIRE: HP recalls 6 MILLION burn-risk laptop cables
Right in the middle of Burning Mains Man week
One step closer to ROBOT BUTLERS: Dyson flashes vid of VACUUM SUCKER bot
Latest cleaner available for world+dog in September
Apple's iWatch? They cannae do it ... they don't have the POWER
Analyst predicts fanbois will have to wait until next year
HUGE iPAD? Maybe. HUGE ADVERTS? That's for SURE
Noo! Hand not big enough! Don't look at meee!
Samsung Gear S: Quick, LAUNCH IT – before Apple straps on iWatch
Full specs for wrist-mounted device here ... but who'll buy it?
AMD unveils 'single purpose' graphics card for PC gamers and NO ONE else
Chip maker claims the Radeon R9 285 is 'best in its class'
prev story

Whitepapers

Best practices for enterprise data
Discussing how technology providers have innovated in order to solve new challenges, creating a new framework for enterprise data.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?