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WiFi, WiGig To Cooperate On 60GHz WiFi

5/10/2010 12:39:34 PM Eastern
Austin, Texas - The WiGig Alliance's high-speed 60GHz-band in-room wireless technology could become an official WiFi Alliance standard under an agreement between the two groups.

WiFi Alliance CEO Edgar Figueroa noted, however, that his organization "just started to evaluate all the possibilities for adding a 60GHz specification" and that the alliance's 60GHz task group  might also evaluate other 60GHz technologies as well. There is a "significant list of 60GHz alternatives" for the alliance to consider, he said.

In a related development, SiBeam, the sole supplier of chips for the competing Wireless HD technology, said it will make a  dual-technology WirelessHD/WiGig reference design kit available to CE suppliers in June. WirelessHD using SiBeam chips is already used in select HDTVs.

With a technology sharing agreement now in place with the Wireless Gigabit (WiGig) Alliance, the WiFi Alliance will be able to evaluate WiGig's 60GHz-band in-room wireless technology, which is designed for use in high-definition TVs, PCs, PC peripherals, laptops and battery-operated handheld devices such as cellphones, portable media players (PMPs), and digital camcorders.

Non-battery-operated WiGig products would be able to communicate at up to 6Gbps, enough to stream one uncompressed 1080p 60Hz video program from a settop box or Blu-ray player at one end of a room to a flat-panel HDTV display at the other end. The technology is also power-efficient for use in battery-operated handheld devices, enabling speedy file transfers of at least 1GB at short range, the WiGig Alliance has said.

The WiGig spec also defines procedures that enable WiGig devices to hand over sessions to the 2.4 and 5GHz bands in which current WiFi-certified  802.11a/b/g/n  devices operate.

Current WiFi-certified devices are designed for multiroom home networks and peer-to-peer applications but at much slower speeds. For WiFi-certified 802.11n products, for example, the spec's theoretical data rate is 600Mbps. Products certified under the 802.11b/g/a standards are slower than that.

 "Some or all elements [of the WiGig] specification might find their way into our 60GHz WiFi program," Figueroa said. The WiFi Alliance "could pick and choose" elements of several 60GHz standards to incorporate in a single spec that would be certified by the alliance, he added. 

Under the program, he pointed out, the WiFi Alliance is not developing its own 60GHz technology but is developing a certification program for a 60GHz technology to ensure products equipped with the technology are able to interoperate. "Our potential certification program would ensure the seamless handoff [of WiFi-certified products from the 60GHz to the 2.4/5GHz bands]", he said.

For its part, SiBeam contended in a statement that WirelessHD "will continue to provide the best solution for WVAN (wireless video area networking]" but that WiGig "can potentially serve as a good platform for support of data and WLAN applications."
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