Getting to Market

"Historically it is a huge leap this time" admitted Montag. He isn't wrong. Up to now wireless technology has taken comparatively minor steps and a great many years to do so. 802.11a came out in 1999 with a theoretical 54Mbit maximum, 802.11b arrived in 1999 operating at up to just 11Mbit, 802.11g appeared in 2003 and again topped out at a theoretical 54Mbit. We then endured a six year wait for 802.11n's torturous ratification for a standard than can supposedly reach 150Mbit (300Mbit in dual channel) but actually tops out at... yep, roughly 54Mbit in real world usage. By contrast what WiGig proposes is mind blowing.

How is such a leap possible? The trick is its move into the largely empty 60GHz spectrum while also broadcasting over 2, 4 and 5GHz bands used by existing standards - something which conveniently makes it backwards compatible with wireless a, b, g and n. Equally exciting: it is low power compliant from day one, meaning laptops and mobile phones can get straight in on the action.

"If you look at the capability of WiGi it is {further} differentiated by its support of such wide range of devices, especially low power" continued Montag. "Bandwidth, display {WiGig is HDCP compliant}, audio and data. Really no other spec, technology or standard does this."

That isn't to say WiGig won't have rivals. Most notable is the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) which has its own 60GHz based 1Gbit wireless standard in the works, '802.11ad'. IEEE is also the powerhouse behind every wireless standard to date as well as the stickler behind such elongated ratification processes. Thankfully it looks like WiGig and 802.11ac will play nicely together from the outset.

"We are unlikely to see WiGig heavily branded" explained Montag. "The market will be buying 'WiFi'... and what we expect is the WiGig spec and 802.11ad spec will be in sync with one another. The end user will be buying a standard with {WiFi Alliance} logo and certification which ensures they will be interoperable - that is the key in partnering with the WiFi Alliance." In other words the pressure is on the IEEE to make 802.11ac work with WiGig not the other way round. Happily both companies are in regular discourse and have a number of shared board members, but it still gives WiGig the box seat.

"WiGig also has members of the IEEE," stressed Montag. "We've been making technical contributions so there's a very high degree of synergy. The intention is to not have separate competing specifications, they don't do anyone any good. There is a general interest in having single 60GHz WiFi that can be brought to market and leverage the brand and capabilities of what we have with WiFi today."

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