WiGig group opens way to gigabit wireless devices

Wireless Gigabit Alliance publishes spec for 60GHz tech and teams up with Wi-Fi Alliance, paving way for wireless products that run at a higher speed.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read

Wireless devices that run at speeds in gigabits rather than megabits have been given the green light to hit the consumer market.

The Wireless Gigabit Alliance (WiGig) announced Monday that its 60GHz multi-gigabit wireless technology is now available for member companies to start turning out products that use the new high-speed standard.

Operating at the unused frequency of 60GHz, the WiGig standard can theoretically deliver speeds of up to 7 gigabits per second (Gbps), more than 10 times faster than the current 802.11n Wi-Fi, or Wireless N, rate.

Finalized last December, WiGig is not meant to replace existing Wi-Fi technology but rather complement it. Though WiGig will be faster than traditional Wi-Fi, its range will be shorter. WiGig's speed is expected to make the standard suitable for bandwidth-heavy tasks such as streaming video and audio, meaning consumers would be able to use it to connect an array of devices in the living room or home office, such as PCs, TVs, Blu-ray players, game consoles, handheld devices, and home networks.

To further cement the push for high-speed wireless, the WiGig Alliance also announced Monday an agreement with the Wi-Fi Alliance, a nonprofit wireless industry group whose goal is to ensure that different wireless products can talk to each other. The two groups will share technology specifications to create a certification program that can push the development of new Wi-Fi products operating in the 60GHz frequency.

The WiGig Alliance is also looking for manufacturers to create triband WiGig products that can operate in the 2.4GHz, 5GHz, and 60GHz bands. Existing Wi-Fi technology uses the 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies, so triband WiGig devices will be compatible with current Wi-Fi devices.

"Now that our specification is complete and published, it's time to set our sights on driving a great user experience through interoperability and certification," WiGig Alliance's president and chairman, Ali Sadri, said in a statement. "We are happy to work with the Wi-Fi Alliance to extend multi-gigabit capabilities to the Wi-Fi technology portfolio."

Formed a year ago to promote the need for faster speed connections between different wireless devices, the Wireless Gigabit Alliance counts Intel, Dell, Microsoft, Nokia, and Samsung among the members of its board of directors. Networking powerhouse Cisco Systems recently joined as a board member.