Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Wi-Fi Gets A Boost From 60GHz

CES featured a number of new products featuring the 60GHz 802.11ad standard, also known as WiGig. These included a Wi-Fi router from TP-Link, a notebook from Acer, and ThinkPad X1 docking station and display from Lenovo. Building on that momentum, Intel and Qualcomm, two of the semiconductor industry’s leaders in wireless technology, and also fiercest competitors, announced an effort to ensure growth of the WiGig market and compatibility between chipsets.
Products with 802.11ad WiGig integrated (in order clockwise from the left) TP-Link Talon AD7200 tri-band router, Acer TravelMate P648, Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga, LenovoThinkVision X24 Pro
Products with 802.11ad WiGig (in order clockwise from the left) TP-Link Talon AD7200 tri-band router, Acer TravelMate P648, Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga, Lenovo ThinkVision X24 Pro [photos from TP-Link, Acer, Lenovo]
WiGig can be used for a variety of applications ranging from audio and video to just transmitting data. Interest in WiGig has risen recently with the growth of 4k video and interest in reducing the wired interconnects on consumer devices ranging from PCs to TVs. One interesting application for WiGig will be VR headsets, where the need for high bandwidth and low latency will be paramount. However, the use of WiGig is not limited to the consumer segment. WiGig can also be used for a variety of other applications including wireless kiosks and industrial control systems.
Intel and Qualcomm were two of the founding members of WiGig and have been working together to further the specifications and standards since 2007. While testing will not begin until later this year, Intel and Qualcomm have come together to ensure interoperability with the solutions using their present chipsets, which include most of the current solutions shipping with WiGig.
High-speed point-to-point interconnects have been a goal for many years, but few of the standards have gained wide acceptance due to the competition in the market and challenges in bandwidth and/or power consumption. With two of the leading wireless semiconductor vendors on-board and a significant number of new designs underway driven by rising data rates, 802.11ad appears to have won the battle and is on its way to being the next major wireless standard and expanding the Wi-Fi ecosystem.

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