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Alliance gears up for 60GHz software specs

Posted: 14 Dec 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:802.11ad? WiGig technology? 802.11ac?

The Wireless Gigabit Alliance has initiated an effort to define upper layers of its software stack and completed work on three low layer software efforts.

The 60GHz technology promises to deliver multiple Gbit/s of throughput, but products are not expected to ship in volume until certification specs are completed late next year, the alliance said.

The 60GHz technology is based on the IEEE 802.11ad standard, which is now in the works and is scheduled for completion in late 2012. Early test chips are delivering 3.5 to 4.5 Gbit/s user throughput, but the 60GHz technology does not penetrate walls so is focused on in-room use.

WiGig Alliance

Members of the WiGig Alliance gathered for their first plugfest in late October.

Analysts and vendors expect another spec, 802.11ac, to become the next iteration WiFi. It delivers about 1Gbit/s over 5GHz and is being implemented in combo chips that also support 802.11n and are now starting to sample with production expected next year.

It could take until 2016 before multiband versions of chips supporting 60, 5 and 2.4GHz debut. That's the timeframe when the WiGig technology is expected to start ramping into high volume use.

Meanwhile, WiGig announced it has formed a working group to define the upper software layers for devices that use its technology. The so-called docking station group will define software standards any WiGig system will need to use for functions such as pairing devices.

The group already released protocol adaption layers (PALs) that provide low level support for mapping widely used wired interconnects on to WiGig including Displayport, HDMI, PCI Express and USB. The group is still working on a PAL for the SDIO standard for linking to SD cards.

In late October, seven chip makers participated in WiGig's first plugfest. More than half the group showed ASICs and others brought FPGA implementations, all of which worked together, said Ali Sadri, president of WiGig.

Startup Wilocity is sampling a 65nm WiGig-compliant chip that delivers 3.5Gbit/s at 2W. A handful of other silicon companies are expected to announce their plans soon.

WiGig aims to hold quarterly plugfests through 2012. It hopes to include the WiFi Alliance in events in the second half of the year as part of its effort to get that group to establish a WiGig MAC/PHY certification by the end of 2012.

Once that program is complete, WiGig aims quickly to finish certification programs for its PALs and the high-level software layer now being defined. If all goes smoothly, volume certified products could ship in early 2013, said Sadri.

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