Feeds

WTF is... WiGig

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

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Ultra wireless for Ultrabooks?

But progress is being made, he insists. WiGig 1.2 and the final version of IEEE 802.11ad should both be published by the end of the year, paving the way for the first commercial devices to debut in 2013. Other WiGig proponents, such as chip maker Wilocity, say the same thing.

That said, it's going to be 2014 before the WiGig begins to achieve critical mass as more devices ship with tri-band Wi-Fi radios: 2.4GHz, 5GHz and 60GHz. UltraBooks in particular will favour the technology, says Sadri, though as an Intel guy you might well expect him to say that. iHS IMS Research, a market watcher, reckons that by 2016 up to 100m WiGig chipsets could be shipping, 20 per cent of them tri-band products.

It will be Wi-Fi that drives the shift to 60GHz. The Wi-Fi Alliance, the body behind the popular wireless networking standard, will have decided how to bring 60GHz operation into the fold by then. It's currently promoting 802.11ac, and 802.11ad, whether it's ratified this year as Sadri forecasts or next, is an surefire technology for the WFA to adopt.

Evolution of Wi-Fi

Bringing 802.11ad into the Wi-Fi specification doesn't mean embracing WiGig entirely, only its data networking component. Sadri and many other WiGig backers hope the WFA will incorporate more of Wireless Gigabit, to allow Wi-Fi to evolve into a broader wireless technology.

It's already moving in that direction: technologies like Apple's AirPlay and Intel's WiDi (Wireless Display) are showing users that Wi-Fi is a technology that can do do much more than connect computers. While 802.11n made these technologies possible, 802.11ac gives them extra bandwidth to really stretch their legs.

But it can't ever become a true cable killer. WiGig can, insists Sadri. Wi-Fi, as it stands, ties clients to an access point; WiGig enables direct device-to-device connectivity too, and that's not a part of 802.11ad. WiGig delivers 2-4Gb/s with a four-element antenna measuring just 5 x 5mm, easy to put into a phone, a TV, a set-top box – pretty much any device you can think of.

Universal wireless

You might get 600Mb/s out of 802.11ac using a similar size antenna, but it would still cost you a lot more in power consumption, says Sadri. Comparable speeds will require such a bulky antenna array, and that it'll put mobile usage out of the question.

Still, there's no escaping the fact that 802.11ac has a part to play, delivering the beyond-the-room networking WiGig simply can't do. But then there's the stuff 802.11ac can't do either: it can't support an office full of laptops all streaming lossless video data – which you need if you're displaying sharp text not video, for which human eyes' blur tolerance is much, much greater – to deskbound displays and connect to dozens of wireless USB devices while they're at it.

As Wilocity CEO Tal Tamir puts it, WiGig is placed to "totally eliminate the need for cords and connectors, enabling virtually any mobile device – such as a tablet, notebook, Ultrabook or smartphone – to act as a hub for high-speed connectivity and data transfer".

That's the potential and, with the last-minute polishing going on, this time it actually looks likely to be delivered. If we get the chance to rid ourselves of sync cables, it'll have been worth the wait. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

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
One step closer to ROBOT BUTLERS: Dyson flashes vid of VACUUM SUCKER bot
Latest cleaner available for world+dog in September
Samsung Gear S: Quick, LAUNCH IT – before Apple straps on iWatch
Full specs for wrist-mounted device here ... but who'll buy it?
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
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!
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

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
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.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.