Feeds

Hyper-fast Wi-Fi chip guru Wilocity: Cisco dalliance is our ticket to enterprise

Own stock in a desktop-cable company? Sell it

Security for virtualized datacentres

CES 2014 WiGig pioneer Wilocity, developer of 5Gbps 802.11ad Wi-Fi chippery, has shipped more than a million of its chipsets, but it has bigger plans for the future of its tri-band 60GHz, 5GHz, and 2.4GHz chipsets – including using them to turn desktop phones made by its new partner, Cisco, into wireless desktop hubs.

Currently, Wilocity's 802.11ad tech appears in multiple Dell Ultrabooks and workstations, plus that company's Wireless Dock, where it pipes audio, video, USB 3.0, gigabit Ethernet, and other connectivity to its connected client over high-speed wireless signals.

"That's kind of yesterday," Wilocity CEO and cofounder Tal Tamir told The Reg when we met with him as CES 2014 drew to a close last week. "Let's move to what we are doing this year."

The middle of this year, Tamir told us, will see an upgraded, smarter dock that the company dubs "Stingray" – and he assured us that the modules inside the prototypes he showed us were fully operational and now available to partners. "The boxes that you see – ignore the design – but the insides are form-fit, ready, full-mask, everything, ready to ship."

Stingray expands on the existing docks' wireless connectivity by adding the ability to run a thin client – a small Linux system, for example – on the dock even when notebooks, tablets, or whatever are undocked. "You still have a useful kind of a desktop experience that you can work with," Tamir said, giving the example of a Netflix client running on Stingray's Marvell system-on-chip.

Tamir said that the early adopters of his company's docks have been smaller companies – and that's a limitation that Wilocity's recently announced partnership with Cisco is intended to surmount.

"In order to reduce the anxiety level of this new category of docking solutions that can actually replace what [enterprises] use today," he said, "we connected with Cisco." This year, that partnership will see Wilocity's Stingray boxes connecting to the Cisco enterprise fabric, making them visible to and manageable by IT admins just like any other routers or switches connected to the fabric.

Tamir showed us Stingray boxes connected to Cisco's Prime for IT management system, which gives an admin visibility into and control over Stingray's connectivity services, and provides the ability to manage the levels of services provided to devices connected via Stingray. "I can do anything that Prime can do," he said, demoing the setup. "That makes [Stingray] an enterprise-grade box."

Shared screens in 2015

All well and good, but Wilocity's plans for next year, however, are where things start to get really interesting. "If I have wireless docking capabilities," Tamir said, "I'm not limited to a connector or any type of mechanical constraint, so why dock just one?" His demo of what's on tap for 2015 showed a group of devices – notebook, tablet, and smartphone – all wirelessly and concurrently connected to the same dock, with their displays all appearing on the same monitor.

In the demo, a notebook was connected wirelessly at 60GHz, and a tablet and smartphone phone were connected at 5GHz. The tablet and phone, as would be expected, showed some latency when their displays were accessed over the common monitor, but notebook access was virtually seamless with a 40-millisecond latency – a figure Tamir said should be halved by the time the system ships.

Tamir also told us that the 2015 system will add the ability to share content among the connected devices so that, for example, a photo taken using the smartphone can be dragged on the shared display to the notebook or tablet. As you might assume, the thin-client capability of the 2014 system will also be retained in the next-gen box.

Peripherals – keyboard, mouse, printer, storage, microphone, storage, and devices running Windows, OS X, Android, iOS, whatever – can all be shared. The display can be everything from a common computer monitor to a 4K television. "It could be your living room," he said. "It could be your TV, and on your TV you could see your kid's iPhone, your iPhone, set-top box, my cloud service, and mix and match between them."

What's more, the system can also function as a publicly available access point manageable over Cisco's Prime for IT, so that if increased wireless access is needed in a particular installation, it can be opened up to select users by an IT admin.

One particularly clever implementation of the 2015 system, to our mind at least, that Tamir showed us was the chippery incorporated into a stock Cisco desktop business phone – which one Wilocity staffer jokingly dubbed a "phok", for "phone dock". In this implementation, which would raise the price of the phone only marginally, tri-band Wilocity chips could seamlessly Trojan-horse their way into the enterprise.

The power draw of Wilocity's chipsets are low, Tamir told us, so low that we should expect next-generation 5Gbps "Sparrow" chips to appear in smartphones in 2015. "Battery life and power will be the same as using Wi-Fi," he promised, noting that if such a smartphone powered by, say, a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon were connected to a large display with peripherals attached using the 2015 docking station, it could be a perfectly acceptable productivity platform.

The software underpinnings of the device-sharing system are being developed by Wilocity but will be made open source – and for a very straightforward reason: the company needs an ecosystem to arise around its chipsets.

"In today's world, especially since you are a leader, you cannot just push chips into the channel," Tamir said. "With these kind of capabilities you kind of have to break the box." ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Let it go, Steve: Ballmer bans iPads from his LA Clippers b-ball team
Can you imagine the scene? 'Hey guys, it's your new owner – WTF is that on your desk?'
How the FLAC do I tell MP3s from lossless audio?
Can you hear the difference? Can anyone?
iPAD-FONDLING fanboi sparks SECURITY ALERT at Sydney airport
Breaches screening rules cos Apple SCREEN ROOLZ, ok?
Apple's new iPhone 6 vulnerable to last year's TouchID fingerprint hack
But unsophisticated thieves need not attempt this trick
The British Museum plonks digital bricks on world of Minecraft
Institution confirms it's cool with joining the blocky universe
Turn OFF your phone or WE'LL ALL DI... live? Europe OKs mobes, tabs non-stop on flights
Airlines given green light to allow gate-to-gate jibber-jabber
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.