SAN JOSE, Calif. Engineers who want to draft a standard for Gbit-class Wi-Fi are placing their bets on the same 60-GHz spectrum in use by another wireless standard in the works. The two groups will meet later this month in an effort to avoid a fight during a major standards gathering in July.
The planned June 19 meeting likely will be one of the first volleys in a protracted battle to define the future of high bandwidth, short range wireless networking for emerging markets such as home networks. That's because many companies eager to deliver multi-Gbit local and personal area wireless network are converging on the 60-GHz band.
"From a regulatory point of view, 60 GHz is really the only cost-effective approach" for such high data rates, said an engineer involved in one of the efforts but who asked not to be named.
The IEEE 802.11 study group on very high throughput (VHT) will meet with the IEEE 802.15.3c group on wireless personal area networks on June 19. According to the rules of the IEEE, the newer VHT group must show it has technologies and market applications that are sufficiently different from the ongoing work of the .3c effort to gain approval from senior IEEE staff to draft its standard.
The VHT group is trying to pave the road map for WiFi used in millions of notebook computers and home networks and a growing number of cellphones and MP3 players. The .3c effort is aimed at delivering a new capability for personal area networks that, for example, could send uncompressed high definition video between a set-top box and a wall-mounted LCD TV.
"The two groups are trying to talk constructively in June to avoid fighting in July," said the source. "The leaders of both groups are doing a good job trying to get everyone to work together," he added.
In order to be technically different, the VHT group could define a standard that includes support for fast switching between Wi-Fi at 2.4, 5 and 60 GHz. It also could define a capability for devices to negotiate at the lower frequencies a move to high-bandwidth 60-GHz links, he added.
But defining different application spaces, something the IEEE also requires, could be tougher. The .3c group focused its standard on serving video distribution and high-bandwidth synchronization of devices.
Asked what apps the VHT group might define, the source said, "that's an answer I don't have yet."