Wifi at 8Gbps as trade body OKs new standard

Alan Burkitt-Gray
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Gigabit Wifi devices delivering 8Gbps are becoming available as the Wi-Fi Alliance introduces new certification scheme for WiGig

The Wi-Fi Alliance has certified the first devices that will deliver Wifi data at up to 8Gbps. Devices are already available, said the trade organisation, but more are expected to be on the way.

The new standard, called WiGig, runs on the 60GHz band, where it has 7GHz of spectrum available. It is based on the existing 802.11ad, set by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. The alliance will certify products that conform to the standard.

“Companies such as Dell will have laptops and other equipment available,” said Edgar Figueroa, president and CEO of the Wi-Fi Alliance. “Soon we will have mobile devices including handsets with WiGig capability.”

WiGig may also replace fibre for broadband data services into homes and businesses, suggested Figueroa. “Google Fiber is looking into it. WiGig gives them another option.” Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google owner Alphabet, said in June that wireless was now cheaper than “digging up your garden”.

The Wi-Fi Alliance represents 750 member companies in the industry, including equipment vendors and operators. It took over the former WiGig Alliance, which originally promoted the new spectrum, in 2013.

In August ABI Research forecast that the smartphone industry would take delivery of 180 million WiGig chipsets in 2017, and that smartphone chipsets would account for almost half of the 1.5 billion total market shipments of WiGig chipsets in 2021.

“It’s going to be very popular in the mobile industry,” said Figueroa. “In 2018 the multiband handset with WiGig will become commonplace. It will address many of the use cases for 5G in terms of capacity and speed. Latency for WiGig is getting down to single digit numbers of milliseconds.”

But the development of WiGig “was a heavy lift for the industry”, he added. “The high-frequency radios are brand new technology. It was very difficult to get them to synchronise their timing. The 60GHz band is an order of magnitude higher frequency than is currently used.”

There will be further moves into even higher bands. In July the Federal Communications Commission in the US opened up a new unlicensed band at 64-71MHz and is asking for comment on bands above 95GHz.

Only one device for users is among the first batch of WiGig approvals, the Dell Latitude E7450/70 laptop. The other devices are adapters and a client and router solution based on Qualcomm’s QCA9500 chipset.