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60GHz specs promise new wireless apps

Posted: 01 Jul 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:60GHz spec? MAC/Phy spec? PCI Express?

While the development of 60GHz standards is going full speed, the industry will not see its final specifications until after a month, according to the Wireless Gigabit Alliance. Chip and systems vendors have lauded the group's efforts, claiming the new specs will pave the way for a wide range of applications such as WiFi and wireless docking and displays.

WiGig published a version 1.1 of its MAC/Phy specification, cleaning up issues implementers found in the original draft and enhancing its preamble sequence and beam forming technology. The techniques can carry data at rates from 3 to 7Gbps.

The group also published to adopters a so-called WiGig Bus Extension that essentially defines an adaption layer for running PCI Express on top of its 60GHz technology. It expects to finish before the end of the year an adaption layer for USB it calls the WiGig Serial Extension.

WiGig is hopeful it can forge links with the PCI Special Interest Group and the USB Implementers Forum once the final 60GHz specs are published in a few weeks. The deals could open the door to creating official certification programs for wireless USB and PCIe.

So far, WiGig has struck a relationship with the Video Electronics Standards Association and become a member of HDMI Licensing LLC so it can eventually release wireless adaption layers for DisplayPort and HDMI.

Last year, WiGig forged a deal with the Wi-Fi Alliance so its 60GHz approach can be certified as a future generation of Wi-Fi. The group has aligned its technical approach with the existing IEEE 802.11ad standards effort on 60GHz, said Ali Sadri, chairman of WiGig.

WiGig could have a certification program for its MAC/Phy spec ready in about a year. That would form the basis for certification programs for the higher layer protocols to follow in another six to 12 months.

Eight test companiesincluding Aeroflex, Hittite Microwave and Rohde & Schwarzjoined the WiGig Alliance in anticipation of the certification programs.

A winning recipe
The first WiGig plugfests could be held as early as October. At least two companiesPanasonic and Qualcomm Atheroshave already announced chips for WiGig.

WiGig's 60GHz approach "looks like the winning recipe" for next-generation wireless, said Bruce Montag, a senior technologist at Dell and a WiGig board member.

Montag said the combination of 60GHz as a follow-on to today's 802.11n Wi-Fi as well as a wireless display, dock and I/O link could make the technology pervasive and compelling. "If I can do all that wirelessly, I have less need for connectors and I can make thinner, lighter systems," he said.

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