A Battle Over Fast Short-Range Specs

Carl Weinschenk

The difference between the newly minted ultra-fast WiGig specification and world-record sprinter Usain Bolt is that the new spec has competition, while the Jamaican runs (very quickly) alone.


WiGig is an emerging standard that works in the 60GHz band and can transfer data as fast as 7 Gigabits per second (Gbps) within a room or similar small area, according to PCWorld.com.


This week, WiGig -- which was officially introduced last month -- announced that it will work closely with the Wi-Fi Alliance. The Wi-Fi Alliance will consider WiGig for inclusion in its future 60GHz spec, the story says. Along the same lines, the WiGig Alliance will get access to Wi-Fi Alliance specs to more accurately align the two technologies moving forward.


There are at least two other direct competitors in the increasingly lucrative high-speed data sector. The second competing standard is WirelessHD. This week, SiBeam announced that has made available dual WirelessHD/WIGig technology, the SB8110 WirelessHD/WiGig RF transceiver and associated development kit. The PCWorld story quotes SiBeam CEO John LeMoncheck suggesting that the two are not necessarily directly competitive: WiGig is stronger at data networking, while WirelessHD is stronger with video.


The third competitor is Wireless Home Digital Interface (WHDI), which PCWorld says isn't a direct competitor, at least from the technical point of view, because it operates in the 5GHz range.


Taranfx does a good job of explaining the WiGig 1.0. It is, according to the story, actually a combination of 60 GHz wireless and Wi-Fi. WiGig, the story says, uses beamforming to create a 10-meter range network. That is the 7 Gbps element. Beyond that distance, the signal fades and the system switches back to 802.11n Wi-Fi. The story gives a good sense of the differences between the three technologies.


This, obviously, is complex material. A few points are worthy of note: It seems that WiGig is best positioned with the Wi-Fi ecosystem, a very big positive both in terms of business relationships and technical issues such as security. Since the technologies have subtly different orientations, however, it seems likely that there will be room for them all-if the sponsors play the non-technical angles well. The bottom line is that there is a tremendous amount of data to ferry around homes, and savvy vendors will be able to take advantage.

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