Published: 8 January, 2013
The Consumer Electronics Show is full of gigabit Wi-Fi products incorporating the 802.11ac standard, but its faster stablemate, 802.11ad, is also in the headlines. This multi-gigabit technology, which runs in 60GHz, is likely to appear in commercial devices from next year, but it has received a boost this week with the publication of the formal standard.
The IEEE has completed the standard - which is targeted at short range, high speed links, particularly for in-home HD video systems - and the news was welcomed by the WiGig Alliance, the industry body behind 11ad. This organization was recently merged into the Wi-Fi Alliance, which will launch test and certification programs later this year.
Ali Sadri, chairman of the WiGig Alliance, said in a statement: "Our members have worked closely with IEEE on developing the standard. We are excited to say that the WiGig MAC/PHY specification is completely aligned with the published 802.11ad standard. Gaining approval from a global standardization body gives WiGig Alliance additional international recognition and moves us one step closer to widespread industry adoption."
One of the pioneers of 802.11ad chips, Wilocity, demonstrated the first commercially available products incorporating the new standard, though of course these early devices will not have the opportunity to be certified. The firm talked up partnerships with Dell, Qualcomm and Marvell. The initial products include Dell's Latitude 6430u Ultrabook. The work with Marvell focuses on combining 60GHz with existing Wi-Fi for applications like wireless docking and high speed synching, using the first WiGig wireless bus extension (WBE). And at CES, Wilocity announced an extension of its cooperation with Qualcomm Atheros, launching the industry's first tri-band reference design that combines Qualcomm's VIVE 802.11ac Wi-Fi with 802.11ad in a single module. Tri-band Wi-Fi allows consumers to connect to 60GHz enabled products at 4Gbps-plus speeds, while maintaining enterprise or whole home coverage with 2.4GHz/5GHz Wi-Fi.