The WirelessHD group has released for final review its specification for 60-GHz radios for short-range, high-bandwidth home networking. The spec should be generally available within 60 days, along with the names of semiconductor companies that are new members of the group.
That was the news from an interview last week with SiBeam Inc., a startup formed to deliver CMOS chips based on the technology. SiBeam helped start the WirelessHD group, which was announced last November.
The WirelessHD group was supposed to announce its spec in the spring, but the effort has been delayed a few months. "All these standards efforts are like herding cats, but the spec is essentially complete," said SiBeam chief executive officer John LeMoncheck.
The startup has a demonstration of a working 60-GHz radio transmitting 1,080-line progressive video wirelessly over about 10 meters. It is based on an FPGA, since the specification was too recently finished to support an ASIC implementation.
The 60-GHz spec will define two networks that work in tandem. A primary beam-forming 60-GHz network will deliver multiple gigabits/second of bandwidth for transmitting uncompressed high-definition video between devices within a room. A secondary omnidirectional network capable of "tens of megabits/s" will continuously look for and negotiate with devices within its 10-meter range. It will use device discovery techniques particular to the 60-GHz spec, but apparently will not interfere with existing mechanisms supporting other device discovery techniques, such as those defined by the Universal Plug and Play Forum.
LeMoncheck said that SiBeam will be a fabless company, focused on generating revenue from sales of its 60-GHz CMOS chips. Any intellectual-property royalties it generates will be modest, he said. "It is not part of our business model to make significant money on IP. We want to compete in chip implementation," he said.
The startup clearly has the firepower to focus on chip design. It has hired two senior technical executives from Wi-Fi chip designer Atheros as well as another from Silicon Image.
"I am really proud of the team we have assembled," said LeMoncheck.
SiBeam expects to announce its OmniLink60 products at or before the Consumer Electronics Show in January. Other members of the WirelessHD group will deliver their own merchant silicon for 60-GHz radios, competing with ultrawideband companies such as Pulse-Link, Tzero and Alereon.
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