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WiGig spec promises 7Gbps wireless streaming

The Wireless Gigabit Alliance has completed a wireless specification that will connect PCs, mobile phones and consumer electronics at very high speeds
Written by David Meyer, Contributor

The Wireless Gigabit Alliance has completed its specification for a 60GHz technology that supports data transmission rates of up to 7Gbps, promising a wireless speed boost between mobile phones, PCs and televisions.

The WiGig version 1.0 specification, announced on Thursday, is backwards-compatible with the 802.11 Wi-Fi standard and is designed for a range of consumer electronics. The WiGig Alliance was formed in May by companies such as Microsoft, Dell, Intel, Panasonic and Samsung, who said their first specification would be published in the fourth quarter of this year.

"We are proud to deliver on this promise to the industry," WiGig Alliance chief Ali Sadri said in a statement on Thursday. "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."

The idea behind WiGig is to be able to hook up PCs, handsets and consumer electronics devices such as high-definition TV sets and digital cameras for the transfer of data. The technology could supersede wired connections such as HDMI cables, and would also be a potential successor to the latest Wi-Fi technology, 802.11n.

WiGig is around 10 times faster than 802.11n, which has a theoretical maximum transfer speed of 600Mbps. WiGig uses 60GHz, an unlicensed piece of spectrum that allows for very high data throughput. Its physical layer makes it possible to create low-power or high-performance WiGig devices.

It can also use beam-forming techniques to give it better range — beyond 10 metres — than competing high-frequency, high-throughput technologies such as Sony's TransferJet, which has a theoretical maximum transfer speed of 560Mbps over a range of a few centimetres.

Another rival to WiGig is Bluetooth 3.0, the specification for which was adopted in April. Bluetooth 3.0 was originally supposed to use ultrawideband (UWB) technology for low-power, high-bandwidth transmissions over short distances. However, UWB's backing organisation, the WiMedia Alliance, folded in March, leaving the new Bluetooth standard with a maximum speed of 24Mbps rather than the originally-intended 480Mbps.

Also on Thursday, the WiGig Alliance announced four new members. Nvidia has signed up at board level, while AMD, SK Telecom and the Chinese certification lab TMC are now contributor members.

Display interfaces are now 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", Nvidia technology marketing manager Devand Sachdev said in the statement.

The first WiGig specification is now available for member review, while adopter members of the alliance will get their hands on the spec in the first quarter of 2010.

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