WiGig 60GHz specification completed: 7Gbps WiFi promised

It's been a while since we've heard from the Wireless Gigabit Alliance (WiGig) but the group of high-speed cable cutters have been beavering away at their first unified 60GHz specification as promised.  The benefit of the standard – which the alliance is pushing for adoption as the next stage in WiFi – is up to 7Gbps theoretical speeds, ten times that of existing WiFi 802.11n, while preserving backward compatibility with previous 802.11 specifications.

They've also picked up some new friends along the way, adding NVIDIA to the WiGig board of directors.  Meanwhile AMD, SK Telecom and TMC have all signed up as contributor members, and it's worth remembering that WiGig had already brought Microsoft, Intel, Dell, Nokia and others into the fold beforehand.

The completed specification now gets to go through member review, before being published for "adopter members" in Q1 2010.  Don't get too excited about all that bandwidth quite yet, however; there's no telling exactly when the first products using the technology will hit the market, and we wouldn't be surprised if it took a twelve months for anything to appear.

Press Release:

WiGig Alliance Announces Completion of its Multi‐Gigabit Wireless Specification

Four members join alliance, including leaders in PC display market, adding breadth to diverse, multi‐industry membership

BEAVERTON, Ore. – December 10, 2009 – Wireless Gigabit Alliance (WiGig), the organization advancing the adoption and widespread use of 60 GHz wireless technology worldwide, today announced the completion of its unified wireless specification. The WiGig specification enables high performance wireless display and audio and provides data transfer rates more than 10 times faster than today's wireless LANs, extending Wi‐Fi technology while supporting backward compatibility with existing Wi‐Fi devices. The completed specification is now ready for member review and is anticipated to be made available to WiGig adopter members in Q1 2010.

"When we launched the WiGig Alliance in May, we announced our plan to complete the industry's first unified 60 GHz specification by Q4 2009, and we are proud to deliver on this promise to the industry," said Dr. Ali Sadri, president and chairman of the Wireless Gigabit Alliance. "We're rapidly paving the way for the introduction of the next generation of high‐performance wireless products – PCs, mobile handsets, TVs and displays, Blu‐ray disc players, digital cameras and many more."

Specification Highlights

The WiGig version 1.0 specification includes the following key elements:

Supports data transmission rates up to 7 Gbps – more than ten times faster than the highest 802.11n rate

Supplements and extends the 802.11 Medium Access Control (MAC) layer and is backward compatible with the IEEE 802.11 standard

Physical layer enables both the low power and the high performance WiGig devices, guaranteeing interoperability and communication at gigabit rates

Protocol adaptation layers are being developed to support specific system interfaces including data buses for PC peripherals and display interfaces for HDTVs, monitors and projectors

Support for beamforming, enabling robust communication at distances beyond 10 meters

Widely used advanced security and power management for WiGig devices

"WiGig has reached a milestone with the completion of its specification as promised by year end, demonstrating the organization's commitment to deliver," said Craig Mathias, a Principal with the wireless and mobile advisory firm Farpoint Group. "By complementing Wi-Fi and enabling multi-gigabit speeds, the versatile specification is a very significant achievement on the road to the next generation of wireless LAN products."

New Members Join WiGig Alliance

WiGig Alliance has experienced steady growth with four new members joining in Q4, with total membership approaching 30 industry‐leading companies. NVIDIA has joined the organization's board of directors, and AMD, SK Telecom and TMC have joined as contributor members. Semiconductor industry pillars NVIDIA and AMD boost the organization's support for PC wireless display applications. SK Telecom, the largest South Korean telecommunications company, and TMC, an independent testing and certification lab headquartered in China, add depth and bring additional expertise to the organization.

"NVIDIA recognizes the general market trend toward wire‐free interfaces. Today, display interfaces are at an inflection point where the next generation solutions will feature wireless display connections for PCs, game consoles, notebooks and mobile devices with PC monitors and TVs," said Devang Sachdev, Technology Marketing Manager at NVIDIA and WiGig Board Member. "NVIDIA supports open standards for wireless transmission of data for display and interfaces such as PCIe, USB, etc., and we see this as aligned with WiGig's work."

"We are extremely proud that the extent of our membership includes world leaders from the consumer electronics, mobile and PC segments. This diversity of representation and participation is enabling WiGig to deliver innovative wireless solutions that will meet market demand in a timely manner," said Sadri.

The completed specification will be made available to WiGig members in Q1 2010. For more information, visit www.wigig.org.

About the WiGig Alliance

The WiGig Alliance envisions a global wireless ecosystem of interoperable, extremely high performance consumer electronics, handheld devices and personal computers that work together seamlessly to connect people in the digital age. WiGig technology enables multi‐gigabit‐speed wireless communications among these devices and fuels industry convergence to a single radio using the readily available, unlicensed 60 GHz spectrum. By bringing together the leading manufacturers of semiconductors, personal computers, consumer electronics and handheld devices, WiGig Alliance is creating a comprehensive specification to drive a global ecosystem of easy‐to‐use, interoperable, high speed wireless products.

Among the companies that comprise the WiGig Alliance board of directors are Atheros Communications, Inc., Broadcom Corporation, Dell Inc., Intel Corporation, LG Electronics Inc., Marvell International LTD., MediaTek Inc., Microsoft Corporation, NEC Corporation, Nokia Corporation, NVIDIA Corporation, Panasonic Corporation, Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., Toshiba Corporation and Wilocity. These companies are joined by contributors that include Agilent Technologies Inc., AMD, Beam Networks, NXP, Ralink Technology Corporation, Realtek, SK Telecom, STMicroelectronics, Tensorcom, Inc., Texas Instruments and TMC. For more information, please visit www.wigig.org.