Gigabit Wi-Fi Spec Edges Closer to Reality

Gigabit Wi-Fi edged closer to reality this week, with the release of the latest version of an industry specification. Available to members of the WiGig Alliance, the document will be the basis for an early round interoperability tests in the fall.

The testing round will be the first time Alliance members can see how well their prototype products, using a short-range Wi-Fi radio that operates in the 60 GHz band, can connect with each other. The 1.1 version of the WiGig specification, which is now in sync with the standard being crafted by the IEEE 802.11ad working group, will create a Wi-Fi radio link that will support up to 7Gbps, over fairly short distances, such as one or more rooms in a home.

VIDEO: WiGig and 60GHz explained

It's intended to tie together a range of high-throughput gear, including consumer electronics such as high-definition TVs, computers and network storage.

The initial 1.0 release was published in May 2010. Since then, based on feedback from Alliance members, the group has fine-tuned it with a range of enhancements.

The 1.1 release is "certification ready," according to WiGig chairman and president Ali Sadri, who also is head of Intel's Mobile Wireless Group. It will be used as the basis for creating a series of certification tests, a joint project between the Alliance and the separate Wi-Fi Alliance. Sadri says the certification process should be ready during the second half of 2012 and will be overseen by the WFA. In the past, Wi-Fi products often have arrived on the market shortly after winning certification.

Also part of this week's announcement are a new peripherals extension, and a new partnership to support HDMI products such as flat-panel TVs.

The WiGig Bus Extension (WBE) specification and the companion WiGig Serial Extension (WSE) support wireless connections with storage devices and other high-speed peripherals. The Bus Extension is now available to member companies; the Serial Extension is being finalized for release later in 2011.

The Alliance announced it has become an adopter of HDMI Licensing LLC, to adapt the WiGig Display Extension spec for HDMI mapping. It will be released later this year. The Alliance previously released, with VESA, a similar adaptation for DisplayPort certification. Each will let WiGig devices wirelessly connect to DisplayPort monitors or HDMI TVs.

John Cox covers wireless networking and mobile computing for Network World.

Twitter: http://twitter.com/johnwcoxnww

Email: john_cox@nww.com

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