WiGig Alliance seeks to bring super-fast wireless video transfer to homes

Wireless video is starting to get off the ground, but a new industry alliance with the power of heavyweights behind it will give it more momentum.

The WiGig Alliance will use the unlicensed 60-gigahertz band of the wireless spectrum to transfer high-definition video within the room of a home at a speed of six gigabits a second, which is much faster and more reliable than Wi-Fi. It’s similar to SiBEAM’s existing technology but seeks to enhance that by combining it with traditional Wi-Fi networking that extends the range at slower speeds to go through walls and cover the entire home. So the network could offer multiple speeds, depending on range and need.

One of the big benefits will be getting rid of the spaghetti-noodle wiring behind almost every TV set today as consumers try to connect more and more devices to their displays and networks.

There are 15 big technology firms behind the WiGig effort, including TV makers like Samsung that have also supported competing standards from Amimon (Wi-Fi-based WHDI) and SiBEAM (60-ghz-based Wireless HD). Those alliances have gotten support in part because TV makers are betting on multiple technologies now.

With WiGig, you could turn on a Blu-ray player and beam it without wiring to a TV set. Or you could connect to the Internet in another part of the house using the wireless connection in the living room. Multiple devices could use the network at the same time, since it’s about 10 or 20 times faster than many Wi-Fi networks.

The WiGig Alliance includes Atheros Communications, MediaTek, NEC, Panasonic, Samsung, Wilocity, Microsoft, LG, Dell, Marvell, Nokia, NEC, Intel and Broadcom. The specification will be ready in the fourth quarter of the year, meaning it’s likely that the technology will ship in real products sometime next year.

Sony isn’t on board yet, but the group is working on getting more members to sign up, said Ali Sadri, president and chairman of the Wireless Gigabit Alliance.

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