The Wi-Fi Alliance has kicked off its latest certification program, for WiGig, the 60-GHz member of the 802.11 family (802.11ad). However, while the technology gained mainstream acceptance when it settled previous disputes between rival IEEE groups and converged with Wi-Fi, it is still not gaining that famous brand and will continue to be called WiGig.
The certification process will work in the same way as those for Wi-Fi branded products, to ensure interoperability within the 60-GHz band, and the “WiGig certified” logo has been published too. The Wi-Fi Alliance merged with the separate WiGig Alliance in January 2013, and is already running early stage plugfests.
The Alliance recently transferred the WiGig Serial Extension Specification to the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF), so anything currently connected by a wired USB connection will be able to link wirelessly via WiGig. The Alliance also has a liaison agreement with the Video Electronics Standards Assocation (VESA), enabling the groups to work jointly on WiGig-enabled display port solutions for connecting PCs and handhelds to monitors, projectors and HDTVs.
WiGig/802.11ad is at least a year behind the 802.11ac Wi-Fi technology – for the conventional 2.4-GHz/5-GHz spectrum - in terms of consumer gear, but saw its standard finalized in January. As a short-range, high speed technology mainly geared to in-home HD video and fast peripheral interconnect, WiGig is largely seen as a complementary platform to 11ac and so will be sup-ported by most of the same chip and equipment suppliers.
The merger with the Wi-Fi Alliance effectively ended rival bids to set a standard for 60-GHz networks, except in niche applications. Other specs, such as WirelessHD, which do not use Wi-Fi derivatives, were pushed into the shade.
The WiGig Alliance had been working increasingly closely with its Wi-Fi equivalent for two years before they converged, having overcome earlier clashes over potentially rival activities in 60-GHz Wi-Fi. WiGig is promising data rates of over 400Mbps in the first instance, then 1Gbps and, in future, a theoretical 7Gbps. Because of the short range of signals at this high frequency, the main applications are expected to be in PC-peripheral connectivity and in-home HD video networks. Elements of the proposed platform include WiGigDisplay Extensions, and WiGig Serial Extension, Bus Extension and SDIO Extension.