A secretive Israeli startup staffed by former Intel executives, and backed by Benchmark and Sequoia Capital, is planning a super high-speed successor to the 802.11n WiFi standard that’s currently being rolled out.
The current fastest standards, 802.11a/g, have top transfer speeds of around 54 megabytes per second (in perfect conditions). The new 802.11n theoretically operates at more than 200 Mbps. But compared to Wilocity’s planned very high throughput (VHT) standard, that’s snail pace: The pilot project aims to operate at up to 5 gigabytes per second, effectively 25 times faster than 802.11n.
That far exceeds current transfer speeds over the internet. Instead, the newer WiFi standards would be more useful for home networking functions like streaming content between a computer, television and mobile device, or synchronizing a laptop with a desktop computer.
The Intel execs who are working on the company include Mike Grodinzky, a former wireless product manager, and Gal Basson, a wireless researcher. The CEO appears to be former Intel staffer Tal Tamir. They declined to comment, saying that more of their plans would be revealed next year. Basson is also a member of a wireless standards committee, the VHT study group, that includes people from Intel, Motorola, and Nokia, and filed a preliminary patent for WiloCity that can be seen here.
Whether or not it sounds credible that the contents of a standard 120GB hard-drive in use today could be transferred in 24 seconds, even if only in laboratory conditions, one thing is nearly certain: Wireless devices that fast, or faster, will be available within three to ten years.
The question is which technologies will be behind them. Devices using another spectrum, 60 gigahertz, could potentially be operate at speeds several times faster than even Wilocity’s planned WiFi standard, but tend to lose signal strength from even a few feet away (see our article on Phiar, which promises 60GHz chips in two years). Meanwhile, companies like Broadcom and Toshiba are probably working on their own high-speed WiFi technology.
However, even if we had WiFi capable of 5 Gbps today, there wouldn’t be many consumer uses for it yet. Ina Sebastian, a wireless analyst with Jupiter Research, told us that 802.11n WiFi is “pretty sufficient” to stream movies from a computer to a television set-top box, the most data-heavy home networking scenario to gain any popularity thus far.
We’re sure someone will think up a use. It probably won’t be the tech guys at Wilocity, though. A slide from a company presentation with suggested applications reads, simply, “Holograms ????”.
We’ll keep an eye on the company for more.