Qualcomm acquires wireless chip maker Wilocity to boost WiGig, next-gen wifi

Qualcomm has completed its acquisition of Wilocity and has released a wireless chipset family based on the IEEE 802.11ad standard, also known as WiGig.

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Credit: Qualcomm

Qualcomm has completed its acquisition of Israeli startup Wilocity, a deal made to advance next-generation wifi networks.

The US chip maker announced Thursday the deal's completion, which was an important step for Qualcomm to take as the firm experiments with the commercial value of 60Ghz technology.

Wilocity, based in Israel, is a startup that develops chips for next-generation wifi, known as WiGig and 802.11ad. WiGig aims to deliver multi-gigabit speeds over the 60GHz band, but this frequency has a catch: it may be quick, but the frequency cannot penetrate walls or cover long distances.

Therefore, some critics have wondered whether the 60Ghz band has any long-lasting commercial value. Speed is the focus, rather than distance — and so while applications of the technology may be limited, it could prove popular for data-heavy application use and transfer over wifi, such as gaming. 

Qualcomm has invested in Wilocity since 2008, and plans to bring Wilocity's technology together with the firms' via a tri-band package, complete with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor. The tri-band package is likely to arrive in smartphones and tablets next year, and Qualcomm says the 60GHz technology will significantly improve the performance and speed of wireless applications.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Tal Tamir, Wilocity's CEO, commented:

Qualcomm Atheros and Wilocity have a successful history of collaboration and share a culture of invention. The Wilocity team will build upon Qualcomm's strengths and leadership to collaboratively deliver innovative wireless technology for mobile, computing and networking customers to address the needs of an increasingly connected world. We are excited to join forces to take our 60 GHz vision to the next level and scale.

At Mobile World Congress this year, Wilocity showcased the Sparrow Wil6300 chipset and prototype smartphone. By using the 60GHz radio frequency band, the prototype was able to transfer data at speeds up to 7Gbps.