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EE Times-India
EE Times-India > EDA/IP

60GHz Wi-Fi gains traction

Posted: 22 Apr 2016     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:WiGig  high bandwidth  Wi-Fi 

The increasing demand for higher bandwidth by gaming and HD video streaming applications is addressed by Wireless Gigabit Alliance's WiGig, also known as IEEE 802.11ad. Launched in 2009, it is a step change from the 802.11 evolution we have witnessed over the last few years, adding a new 60GHz frequency band to the mix of 2.4 and 5GHz offerings.

The 2.4GHz band is largely saturated today, and it is projected that the 5GHz band will also become saturated within 2-3 years due to the roll out of today's 802.11ac. Hence, introducing a new Wi-Fi protocol operating in the 60GHz license-free ISM band is a timely innovation.

Back in 2009 users didn't need WiGig's 7 Gbit/second maximum speeds and new chipsets that would lower cost and drive usage were slow to come to market. Now commercial use and product rollouts of WiGig are gathering pace including components from giants such as Qualcomm and Intel, and focused vendors such as SiBeam, now owned by Lattice Semiconductor, and Peraso Technologies.

Streaming 4K video is one major use case for WiGig. A GB movie could take less than three seconds to transfer between devices and uncompressed high-definition videos can be streamed from mobile devices to TVs in real-time without any delay.

global shipment graph

Figure 1: After several years in the doldrums, WiGig is poised for rapid growth, says SAR.

Smartphones will account for most of the WiGig chip volumes. Chinese smartphone vendor LeTV launched the first WiGig-enabled smartphone in early 2016. This should give impetus to leading smartphone vendors such as Apple and Samsung to add WiGig in the next few years. Applications such as virtual reality headsets will drive WiGig in the longer term.

Among other uses, Dell, Intel, and Hewlett Packard rolled out WiGig docking stations in 2013, 2014, and 2015, respectively, making it possible to connect all peripheral devices via high-speed Wi-Fi. Peraso Technologies chips enable wireless backhaul which is expected to grow rapidly with more vendors joining as we approach the 5G cellular era.

The IEEE 802.11b standard was a stepping stone into the 2.4GHz band with later enhancements such as 802.11g and .11n. WiGig is expected to play a similar role in the 60GHz band with PHY and MAC layer enhancements ahead that could lead to even higher data rates as well as better quality if service.

-Mohamad Haidar

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