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WiGig merged into Wi-Fi Alliance

Larger body will take on all development and marketing activity for 60GHz Wi-Fi, with testing program set for late 2013


Published: 4 January, 2013

READ MORE: Standards | Testing/Certification | Wi-Fi

The quest for a single platform for emerging 60GHz wireless networks is almost over, as the main candidate for a standard, WiGig, merged its efforts with the Wi-Fi Alliance, among the most powerful bodies in wireless.

The organization had been working increasingly closely with the WiGig (Wireless Gigabit) Alliance for the past two years, having overcome earlier clashes over potentially rival activities in 60GHz. The newer body is working on the 802.11ad Wi-Fi extension, which will run in the unlicensed 60GHz band, promising data rates of over 400Mbps in the first instance, then 1Gbps and, in future, a theoretical 7Gbps.

Because of the short range of signals at this high frequency, the main applications are expected to be in PC-peripheral connectivity and in-home HD video networks. Elements of the proposed platform include WiGig Display Extensions, and WiGig Serial Extension, Bus Extension and SDIO Extension.

Some early silicon players such as Wilocity, a spin-out from major WiGig backer Intel, have already produced chips based on the draft standard, though most Wi-Fi equipment makers do not expect to offer mass market kit until at least 2014 - though some may still leap ahead of the final ratification of the standard.

These moves could be accelerated with the full incorporation into the Wi-Fi Alliance, which will bring well established testing and certification processes, and broad industry reach, to WiGig. The first Wi-Fi Alliance interoperability certification program for WiGig products is targeted to launch in late 2013.

The Wi-Fi Alliance's CEO, Edgar Figueroa, said in a statement that WiGig had been an important element in the 802.11 roadmap for a couple of years. He said: "Combining the expertise of Wi-Fi Alliance and WiGig Alliance will deliver a terrific user experience with 60GHz solutions, and will help ensure that a full range of interoperable WiGig solutions reaches the market as quickly as possible."

Under the terms of the agreement, the organizations will enter a period of diligence and planning, intending to complete transition of both the development activity and WiGig assets to the Wi-Fi Alliance by the middle of 2013. The larger Alliance will then take on all WiGig development and promotion activities.

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