SAN JOSE, Calif. The Wireless Gigabit Alliance gave the first peak into its specification for 60 GHz links capable of sending data at rates of 1-7 Gbits/second. The ad hoc group includes top Wi-Fi chip makers aiming to address a wide variety of computer and consumer applications.
Analysts praised the effort for its ambitious aims that include supporting wireless versions of HDMI, DisplayPort, PCI Express and USB using protocol adaption layers (PALs). But they noted the approach has challenges in its range, time-to-market and a still undefined link to existing Wi-Fi standards groups.
The spec is under review by the more than 20 members of the group formed in May 2009 who are expected to ratify it before April. However, products based on it are not expected to ship until 2011 when interoperability tests and certifications labs are in place.
Startup SiBeam has had 60 GHz chips available for more than a year for the competing technology specified by the WirelessHD group and based on the IEEE 802.15.3c standard. However, the chips are relatively costly, high in power consumption and only aim at wireless HDMI replacement in TVs and set-top boxes.
Earlier this week, the WHDI Consortium announced it has completed a spec for a second generation of the 5 GHz technology from startup Amimon for wireless video. Separately, several companies are implementing versions of the current 802.11n spec with multiple antennas to target similar uses.
"I think it's more likely that the 60 GHz band will transmit an in-room signal around the consumer electronics cluster [in the living room], while .11n will provide whole-home coverage," said Brian O'Rourke, a principal analyst for In-Stat.
The WiGig effort is "a complicated and bold move," he said. "Multiple PALs adds complexity to a system, which increases the chances of problems," he added.