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WiGig group finalizes new wireless standard

New standard from Wireless Gigabit Alliance promises speeds up to 7 gigabits per second, ten times faster than Wireless N, but only works for short distances.

Yet another wireless technology has been finalized by its backers, this one promising even faster speeds than current Wi-Fi specs.

The new WiGig standard has been finalized by the Wireless Gigabit Alliance, a group comprised of such heavy hitters as Intel, Dell, NEC, Toshiba, and Microsoft. WiGig promises speeds as fast as 7 gigabits per second, about ten times quicker than Wireless N (802.11n).

But don't get ready to throw out your existing Wi-Fi network. WiGig will only work over short distances, for instance, within a single room. So it's not designed to replace 802.11, but rather supplement it.

As such, its backers see WiGig as the right technology to wirelessly connect home media equipment, such as PCs, mobile devices, TVs, and video and audio players. Its speed could make WiGig the ideal platform for wirelessly streaming high-definition video to TVs and computers. It's also backward compatible with existing Wi-Fi standards.

"When we launched the WiGig Alliance in May, we announced our plan to complete the industry's first unified 60 GHz specification by Q4 2009, and we are proud to deliver on this promise to the industry," said Dr. Ali Sadri, president and chairman of the Wireless Gigabit Alliance. "We're rapidly paving the way for the introduction of the next generation of high‐performance wireless products--PCs, mobile handsets, TVs and displays, Blu‐ray disc players, digital cameras, and many more."

WiGig will run over the 60GHz spectrum, an unlicensed frequency relatively unused at this point. The spec joins an already growing superfast streaming WiFi playing field that includes WirelessHD and Wireless Home Digital Interface (WHDI).

Launched in May with 15 members, the WiGig Alliance has since doubled in size with four new companies joining this past quarter. Nvidia has been added to its board of directors, while AMD, SK Telecom, and TMC have jumped on board as contributor members.

The group said the WiGig specification is now ready for member review and is likely to be available to members who want to push it out by the first quarter of next year.