Gigabit Wi-Fi on the way

A new range of 60GHz Wi-Fi products capable of speeds in the “Gigabit range” are set to be launched by the end of the year.

Gigabit Wi-Fi on the way

The move follows a deal between the Wi-Fi Alliance and the WiGig Alliance, who’ve agreed a specification for devices using the 60GHz frequency. The Wi-Fi Alliance will begin certifying products based on the joint specification.

Today’s Wi-Fi products largely use the 2.4GHz frequency, with high-end products taking advantage of 5GHz for less congested transmission. The move to 60GHz is aimed at providing high-speed wireless for applications such as streaming HD video.

“60GHz device connectivity will be an exciting enhancement to the capabilities of today’s Wi-Fi technologies,” said Wi-Fi Alliance chief executive officer Edgar Figueroa. “From its inception, the WiGig specification was designed to work on a wide variety of devices, making it a compelling input as we begin to define our certification program for 60GHz wireless.”

The addition of 60GHz will see the launch of Tri-band products, capable of transmission across all three frequencies. The specification includes the ability to “hand over” a session to operate on the 2.4GHz or 5GHz bands.

However, there does appear to be the risk of backwards compatibility issues, with the Wi-Fi Alliance only prepared to state that “a significant portion, if not all, of these [60GHz] devices are expected to also support traditional Wi-Fi networking in the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands”.

Although the Alliance is talking about Gigabit-class Wi-Fi, such claims will have to be taken with a pinch of salt until the hardware actually arrives, with actual Wi-Fi speeds traditionally falling well short of the headline figure.

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