Challenges and opportunities for WiGig

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WiGig is expected to revolutionize Wi-Fi by offering up to 10 times higher speeds (around 7 gigabits/second) than today’s Wi-Fi devices do. Although products using this technology have already been announced at CES 2012, it is expected that the first few products will show up by the third quarter this year.

“Over the next few years, one can expect several portable, mobile devices to become WiGig enabled,” said Carlos Cordeiro, a senior member from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and chief standards architect at Intel Corporation.

WiGig complements Wi-Fi by supporting new applications that require low latency and high speeds, such as HD video, data sharing, backup, and wireless docking. “WiGig / 802.11ad is able to transmit multiple gigabytes between devices and systems in seconds,” J. Gerry Purdy, Ph.D., noted in a recent Analyst Angle column. Purdy is a principal analyst of mobile & wireless technology with MobileTrax, LLC.

WiGig vendors include large companies such as Broadcom, Intel, Qualcomm-Atheros, Panasonic, and MediaTek, as well as start-ups such as Wilocity, Peraso, and Tensorcom, plus OEMs such as Dell, Huawei, Samsung, and NEC. The WiGig Alliance is comprised of members spanning across the PC, CE, and HH industries.

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To understand WiGig’s challenges and opportunities, RCR Wireless News asked some questions of Carlos Cordeiro:

RCR Wireless News: What are challenges when deploying WiGig networks?
Carlos Cordeiro: The biggest technical challenge is that these networks will operate in much higher frequencies, around 60 GHz. This compares to the 2.4/5 GHz frequencies used in today’s Wi-Fi products. The higher frequency makes signals travel directionally, which requires the use of beam-forming techniques. The typical range of WiGig is expected to be around 10 meters, which is more than enough for the envisioned use cases. Benefits of shorter ranges and use of higher frequencies are stronger much lower interference compared to today’s Wi-Fi networks.

RCR Wireless News: What are opportunities for WiGig?
Cordeiro: WiGig opens up a whole new and unique set of applications for multi gigabit, short-range wireless systems that are not widely available today. With the advent of rich content devices such as Ultrabooks, iPads, iPhones, and the like, the need for instantaneous syncing and sharing of data on pristine wireless displays create an immense opportunity for this technology.

RCR Wireless News: Would WiGig be a good choice for offloading both 3G, 4G traffic instead of using Wi-Fi? How would this work?
Cordeiro: There is an increasing interest for millimeter wave technologies (including WiGig) for 3G/4G wireless backhaul. With the development of small cells and the increasing use of offloading, the backhaul is becoming a major bottleneck. Therefore, before one can make use of the multi-gigabit rates of WiGig for offloading, the backhaul problem needs to be solved – this is where WiGig could initially be used in 3G/4G networks.

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