Wi-Fi Alliance introduces Wi-Fi Certified TimeSync for precise synchronization

Wi-Fi TimeSync is a new Wi-Fi feature that can be incorporated into devices to support wireless in-room, multichannel audio and video capabilities.

With a nod to all the high-fidelity, home cinema and wireless entertainment gadgetry debuting at CES 2017, the Wi-Fi Alliance announced the introduction of Wi-Fi Certified TimeSync for delivering precise time synchronization between multiple Wi-Fi devices.

The alliance describes Wi-Fi TimeSync as a new Wi-Fi feature for use cases where accurate coordination and synchronization between multiple Wi-Fi devices are critical to high-quality performance, including high-fidelity audio playback through multiple wireless speakers and immersive, multimedia home theater experiences.

The result is a wireless rendering—free from jitter, drift or echo—that delivers precise video, audio and data output. Devices can use Wi-Fi TimeSync to support wireless in-room, multichannel audio and video capabilities, and deliver high-performance device synchronization across the user’s entire Wi-Fi coverage area.

Completely wireless speakers (with the exception of power) is probably one of the more predominant in-home use cases, according to Kevin Robinson, VP of marketing at Wi-Fi Alliance. Wi-Fi TimeSync provides sub-microsecond clock synchronization between devices, and it can also be of use in products that are recording activities, like skiers and snowboarders going down a mountain with GoPro cameras.

Perhaps most importantly, in line with the mission of the alliance, the certification program means that devices from any number of vendors will be able to synchronize their clocks, which should allow for more innovation and use cases that aren’t even yet imagined.  

Beyond the home, TimeSync will be used in industrial, healthcare, automotive and IoT applications that can benefit from more tightly coupled coordination between Wi-Fi devices, according to the alliance.

“Increasing demand for today's high-performance wireless audio/video products has made it more important for multiple devices to operate with precision timing," said Christian Kim, senior analyst, IHS Markit, in a press release. “Time synchronized Wi-Fi connectivity will help drive the audio/video technology market by enabling unrestricted mobility with high-quality performance.”

The alliance this week also released its predictions for 2017, which include a breakout year for WiGig, new Wi-Fi location technology gaining momentum and Wi-Fi as a platform for the Internet of Things. With Wi-Fi Certified WiGig now commercially available, device vendors will be able to provide more immersive virtual reality (VR) experiences without sacrificing performance, and as WiGig technology adoption in VR devices increases, VR will become a truly viable technology within reach of the average consumer for both gaming and more “practical” scenarios, including education, according to the alliance.

The Wi-Fi Alliance also expects to see in 2017 expanded rollouts of LinkNYC to new boroughs and cities, as well as new initiatives to bring high-speed Wi-Fi to schools and municipalities. More municipal Wi-Fi initiatives will feature Wi-Fi Certified Passpoint, and there will be more partnerships with networking providers to bring advanced Wi-Fi Certified ac Wave 2 features to places like stadiums.