SAN JOSE, Calif. The Wireless Gigabit Alliance, a consortium that includes the leading Wi-Fi chip vendors, has struck a deal with the Wi-Fi Alliance to have its specification for 60 GHz networking considered as the next generation of Wi-Fi. The WiGig group has also persuaded a chief competitor, SiBeam Inc., to be the first to deliver silicon for its spec.
The two victories give WiGig a big leg up in defining the future of 60 GHz networking. But the battle to command this key turf for next-generation wireless is not over.
The IEEE 802.11ad group setting a specification for 60 GHz Wi-Fi is still accepting new proposals. In addition, the competing WirelessHD Consortium rolled out a new version of its technology promising throughput of 10-28 Gbits/s, leapfrogging the WiGig group's 7 Gbit/s maximum theoretical data rate.
In a surprise move, fables chip designer SiBeam (Sunnyvale, Calif.), that pioneered the WirelessHD approach, announced Monday (May 10) hybrid silicon supporting both the latest WiGig and WirelessHD specs. The company is one of a new group of fourteen others including Cisco Systems either to join WiGig or sign up as an adopter of its spec.
Analysts point out the market for wireless video, a key driver for 60 GHz networking, is still in its infancy. Other players seeking a piece of the action include startup Amimon with a proprietary 5 GHz approach and Ruckus Wireless using a novel antenna design with existing Wi-Fi.
"There's a lot going on out there, and how it's going to shake out will take awhile to be determined," said Brian O'Rourke, a senior analyst at market watcher In-Stat.
"Overall in terms of wireless high def video, it’s a niche technology in the near term because wired solutions work well and are inexpensive," said O'Rourke. "Consumers aren't clamoring for wireless video technology now, but over the long term maybe they will," he added.