Wireless Networking

New Spec to Grease Wheels for Wireless Gadget Data Sharing

Over a dozen technology companies announced Thursday their participationin the Wireless Gigabit (WiGig) Alliance, an organization formed toestablish a unified specification for 60 gigahertz (GHz) wirelesstechnology. The new wireless alliance has been working behind closeddoors for more than a year.

The collection of semiconductor makers and digital media devicemanufacturers quietly banded together to develop a new solution forfaster wireless connectivity among digital devices like cameras, media players and computers.

The WiGig specification is intended make wireless file transfers 10 times faster than existing protocols like WiFi. The connectivity range will connect devices located within the same room, Ali Sadri, chairman andpresident of the WiGig Alliance, told TechNewsWorld. By contrast, a typical home WiFi router can send and receive signals to and from devices throughout an entire house.

The group’s vision isto create a global ecosystem of interoperable products based on thisspecification. The standard will support a singletechnology for file transfers, wireless display anddocking, and streaming high-definition (HD) media on a variety of devices.

“We already have been working as a group for 18 months. Now is theright time to announce that we exist,” Sadri said.

Almost There

The new 60 Gigahertz (GHz) wireless standard isnearly ready for the digital device industry’s adoption, according to the group. Thealliance’s initial phase of readying the new technology should bedone by the end of this year, Sadri noted.

“It will take some time to roll out the certification process. Iexpect to see a staggered rollout,” he said.

The next phase of the project will involve writing specifications andtesting them for certification, which “will take some time,” added Sadri.

Existing Limitations

The typical gadget consumer’s home is filled with a motley collection of wiredand wireless devices that have to be connected to other digital devices, like desktop PCs, in order to transfer files. This transfer often happens at fairly modest rates, especially when a wireless connection is established.

The WiGig standard is intended to boost that wireless connection speed.

Video, music and other digital content transferred by consumers is growing richer — thus, file sizes are growing. Faster transfer speeds would mean less waiting for that super-sized content to load from one device to another. Another rising consumer desire is the ability to use all media on all of thedifferent platforms throughout the house.

With WiGig, “consumers will have the freedom of mobility. They won’t need wires toconnect their devices,” Mark Grodzinsky, marketing chair for the WiGig Alliance, told TechNewsWorld.

Why 60 GHz?

Today’s wireless options are not sufficient for instantaneousdownloads of uncompressed, multimedia files, streaming HD media files,and real-time gaming between multiple devices, Grodzinsky pointed out.

The goal is to use the new wireless standard to provide wirelessconnectivity between PCs, handsets, printers, media bridges, set-top boxes,cameras and many more devices to come. The new standard aims to hittransfer rates over 10 times faster than today’s WLANs (wireless local area network), allowing usersto download or transfer rich content in seconds instead of minutes.

The 60 GHz standard offers multi-gigabit speeds using a large swath of unlicensedspectrum available in most countries. This can provide access to greaterbandwidth for new wireless applications with virtually nointerference. The result will be robust, latency-free media streaming,according to Grodzinsky.

Legacy Included

One of the foremost objectives of the Alliance is to create atechnology that would not replace existing wireless standards butenhance them. In some ways, the 60 GHZ standard will do the samethings that existing wireless technology does — only faster.

“The biggest task [was] to do it right, to build it from the bottom up,” accordingto Grodzinsky.

“This was no simple task,” echoed Sadri. “It overlapped multiple industries. Ouralliance is the only organization that looked at the problem from thebottom up.”

Thejob of creating a new wireless standard would have been much easierand faster if some mobile devices had been excluded, he commented. However, “interoperability is guaranteed. Our intention is to reuse existingWiFi technology to make all devices interoperable. Once you comply withthe specifications, all wireless devices will work with it.”

Player’s List

The WiGig Alliance includes semiconductor, PC, consumer electronics and handheld devicemanufacturers. Among the companies that make up the Alliance’s board of directors:

The WiGig specification is expected to be available to membercompanies in Q4 of 2009.

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