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November 02, 2012

WiGig 60GHz Wireless Gigabit Technology Starts to Proliferate

By Doug Mohney, Contributing Editor

Wilocity, a developer of 60 GHz multi-gigabit wireless chipsets, revealed it is providing tri-band wireless chipsets with Qualcomm Atheros for Dell's (News - Alert) first WiGig enabled Ultrabook. The Dell Latitude 6430u demonstrated its multi-gigabit wireless docking and network capabilities at a Windows 8 launch event last week. More importantly, Wilocity now has revealed working relationships with both Qualcomm (News - Alert) and Marvell, giving it a large footprint to move its technology more quickly into devices.

The Dell Latitude 6430u Ultrabook is among the first devices reaching the market featuring WiGig, more formally known as IEEE (News - Alert) standard 802.11ad. WiGig enables data rates in the gigabit range over the unlicensed 60 GHz band, with the potential for data rates up to seven Gbps at short distances within a room at lower power than 2.4 GHz and five GHz Wi-Fi. Manufacturers such as Marvel and Qualcomm Atheros are blending Wilocity's 60 GHz technology with existing 2.4/5 GHz chips to produce a single tri-band chipset covering all frequencies.

Tri-band solutions allow users to connect to peripherals such as docks, displays and storage at multi-gigabit speeds while maintaining standard Wi-Fi coverage through the enterprise and home. The Dell Latitude 6430 uses Wilocity's version of the WiGig Wireless Bus Extension to provide the Ultrabook with a wireless docking station capability to connect to a wide range of devices, such as storage, peripherals, and external graphics processing capabilities.

Over the summer, Marvell partnered with Wilocity to deliver WiGig solutions for computer, networking and consumer electronics devices.   The company supplies parts to a wide range of manufacturers, including Dell, D-Link, Microsoft, Netgear, Panasonic, Toshiba (News - Alert), Samsung, Seagate, and Sony.

Combine Marvell's reach with Qualcomm Atheros's "touch" into the market and WiGig may appear into the market at a steady clip throughout 2013 and 2014, first in high-end/high-margin devices such as Ultrabooks and then rolling into tablets, game systems and phones. 

Tablets practically scream for WiGig on two fronts.  TMC (News - Alert) Contributing Editor Gary Kim and I have often swapped notes on small portable devices.  Gary leans to a netbook because he just can't stand the slight delay between a tablet and a Bluetooth connected keyboard. A WiGig connected keyboard should eliminate Bluetooth communications lag and offer better use time since it consumes less power than Bluetooth.   

It's the data moving abilities of WiGig that I think that will make it the "must have" feature, enabling syncing between local storage and tablets to happen in under a minute rather than the couple of minutes or more it takes to download the latest set of pictures or a video into a device.  I'm hoping I see a Microsoft Surface tablet with WiGig at CES 2013, but I suspect I might have to wait until the following year.

Edited by Jamie Epstein
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