IEEE approves WiGig, clearing way for faster wireless networking

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Imagine a technology that would eliminate the tangled bundle of wires at the back of your PC.

WiGig, a very fast, short-range networking technology that operates in the 60Ghz band has the potential to do so, and Tuesday it inched a step closer to reality after receiving approval from a key standards group.

By winning the OK from the IEEE Standards Association, WiGig (802.11ad), which has been in the hopper since 2009 and had a spec on the books since 2010, is coming closer than ever to reality and could start appearing in routers as early as the second or third quarter of this year.

WiGig is capable of transferring data at a blazing rate of 7Gbps. By contrast, current routers using 802.11g technology transfer data at 50Mbps and 802.11n at 100Mbps.

Use of the 60Ghz band shortens the range of WiGig to 40 feet or so, but it also makes its signal more robust, which makes it a good fit for dense deployment environments, like offices and hospitals.

wireless hotspot

Improvements in spectral reuse and "beam forming" for WiGig, according to IEEE, now make it possible for users in dense deployment environments to maintain top-speed performance, without interfering with one another or having to share bandwidth as happens now in networks using existing Wi-Fi technology.

WiGig's transmission speeds are expected open the door for all kinds of home networking applications, too.

"By migrating up to the next ISM band (60GHz), we break ground on new spectrum for IEEE 802.11, enable an order of magnitude improvement in performance and enable usages that have never before been possible with existing IEEE 802.11 – namely wireless docking and streaming video," Bruce Kraemer, chairman of the IEEE 802.11 Wireless LAN Working Group, said in a statement.

In the latest version of the WiGig standard approved by the IEEE, a new "Fast Session Transfer" feature has been added to the technology. It enables seamless and quick switching between WiGig and legacy technologies working in the 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz bands.

The ability to imperceptibly move between the bands ensures that computing devices are always "best connected," enabling them to operate with optimal performance and range criteria, according to the IEEE.

Fast Session Transfer should clear the path for "triple threat" devices to start appearing in the market soon that support the 60, 2.4 and 5 gigahertz bands.

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