7Gbps wireless on the way, WiGig (802.11ad) adopted by IEEE

By on January 15, 2013, 4:00 PM

A new wireless standard promising blazing speeds over short distances was recently adopted by the IEEE. Known as 802.11ad. The ratified standard will deliver 7Gbps speeds over 60GHz frequencies and should appear in consumer electronics as soon as next year. And in case you're wondering, WiGig is the consumer-friendly marketing name which will encompass 802.11ad and future revisions.

We first mentioned 60GHz Wi-Fi in 2008. Interestingly though, 802.11ad isn't aimed at replacing your wireless network; rather, it hopes to compliment your existing Wi-Fi by providing an impressively fast, direct link between devices. Possible applications include device docks and wireless peripheral interconnects. 

Unfortunately, what makes 802.11ad so incredibly fast -- its 60GHz frequency -- also serves as the reason it won't be supplanting your Wi-Fi network. Increasingly high radio frequencies (i.e. shorter wavelengths) tend to be increasingly poor at penetrating solid objects like walls, desks and bookcases. Not surprisingly, higher frequencies also tend to be useful only at shorter ranges -- that is unless someone intends to slow-cook unfortunate passersby.

While the 2.4GHz and 5GHz signals doled out by 802.11g/n and 802.11ac may provide reasonable coverage for your entire dwelling, it's unlikely 60GHz and higher frequencies will ever become an adequate substitute. However, for line-of-sight and short-distance transmission applications, 60GHz and up offer tremendous performance potential: 4Gbps links are likely just the beginning.

Already on the 802.11ad bandwagon is Dell with its upcoming Latitude 6430u Ultrabook . Additionally, chip makers Marvell, Qualcomm and Atheros are all working on chip implementations, some of which cram 802.11ac and 802.11ad capabilities into a single module. Such chips will grant devices simultaneous access to 2.4-5GHz and 60GHz bands.

User Comments: 8

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JC713 JC713 said:

I guess I will wait for AD and not buy an AC router

captainawesome captainawesome said:

Sounds nice as long as it's stable. Won't help me much as it currently stands but as houses and apartments become more open-plan, this will deffo take off.

VitalyT VitalyT said:

In the meantime, the market isn't ready to dump the old 1Gbit Ethernet networks, which will be a bottleneck for shared networks throughput.

And 10Gbit networking is still darn expensive.

misor misor said:

Lol, and I'm still using a 150mbps wifi draft-N router.

my slow speed internet is all I can afford and is at par with my occasional surfing/downloading and online gaming habits (sc:bw, sc2:wol, d2:lod, and d3)

Guest said:

@VitalyT just remember wireless is still a "hub" environment, where all devices are sharing that bandwidth... while wired we're in a switching environment where a 4 port gigabit switch is capable of 4x1gbps total through all ports, and a 4 wireless user on a gigabit wireless is capable of 250mbps per user.

not to mention CSMA/CA & CSMA/CD

wired shouldn't be compared to wireless, yes it's an extreme leap for wireless

nismo91 said:

Wonder why they didnt push it slightly to 8Gbps ~ or rather known 1GB/s. I know this is just theoretical spec and nowhere near real-life speed, but still.

Guest said:

What a pleasant personality 802.11ad must have, that it hands out compliments. I think you meant "complement".

WA3RA WA3RA said:

I can't imagine this band being a panacea for most users. When a single raindrop becomes an appreciable part of a wavelength, and line of site can be blocked by a sheet of paper, the actual usefulness will be pretty limited.

The huge bandwidth is a moot point when the user can't actually move the signal reliably.

For controlled point-to-point, I can see some advantages, especially if we can generate useful power levels, but the beamwidth of the 'long' high-gain antennas will make aiming critical, and outside shots will still be attenuated by heat shimmer, plants, and weather.

Then again, I could be wrong.

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