Wi-Fi Alliance kicks off certification for WiGig

smartphone (pixabay)

Momentum for WiGig is building, and it should only get stronger with the Wi-Fi Alliance now certifying products based on the 802.11ad standard, known as Wi-Fi Certified WiGig.

Operating at 60 GHz, WiGig is one of the first millimeter wave technologies to be available. “This isn’t something that’s going to be available two years from now. There are products shipping today,” said Kevin Robinson, director of marketing at Wi-Fi Alliance.

The first Wi-Fi Certified WiGig products, which comprise the test bed for interoperability certification, are:

  • Dell Latitude E7450/70
  • Intel Tri-Band Wireless
  • Peraso 60 GHz USB Adapter Reference Design Kit
  • Qualcomm Technologies 802.11ad Wi-Fi client and router solution (based on the QCA9500 chipset)
  • Socionext 802.11ad Reference Adapter

Vendors are calling the certification program a key milestone, giving customers the confidence that products meet industry standards for security and interoperability.

Robinson said a number of things make 60 GHz and WiGig a compelling solution for addressing data demands. The propagation of 60 GHz is shorter range so there’s less chance of interfering with nearby objects, and it’s also a very directional technology so there is less chance of having to contend with a neighbor’s network.

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Overall, WiGig is very much focused on features and capabilities that optimize Wi-Fi device performance, he said. WiGig uses wider channels in 60 GHz to transmit data at multi-gigabit per second speeds and with low latency at distances of up to 10 meters. Devices use beamforming to focus a signal between devices, and wider channels enable WiGig devices to achieve data rates of up to 8 Gbps. That means, for example, that if you want to transfer an HD movie to a smartphone as you’re getting ready to leave the house, that can be achieved in just a few seconds.

As for the other bands where Wi-Fi operates, Robinson said multiband Wi-Fi certified products will be available supporting 2.4, 5 and 60 GHz, allowing for handoffs between frequency bands depending on what’s best for the application at the time.

WiGig is expected to be adopted in a diverse set of devices, including handsets, tablets, access points, laptops, game consoles and even metro backhaul infrastructure equipment. For that reason, it’s important that WiGig be power efficient, providing for longer battery life.

The Wi-Fi Alliance expects many of the vendors with early implementations of the technology to bring those devices through the certification process, which is pretty typical in new technology rollouts.

But Robinson said the certification program is really only the beginning. Future releases will bring even more capabilities and benefits to end users. ABI Research forecast 180 million WiGig chipsets will ship to the smartphone market in 2017, with smartphone chipsets accounting for almost half of the 1.5 billion total market shipments in 2021.