Monday, January 19, 2015

WiGig at CES

One of the problems with technology is wires. Wires for charging, connecting computers, sending video, hooking up keyboards and mice, etc. A lot of progress has been made with Bluetooth and WiFi, but I still have to run an HDMI cable from my Mac to my Monitor. And there are still plenty of USB devices around the office that are connected with wires.

One way to fix this is to improve wireless speeds and one way to do that is with WiGig, a new standard for connecting using 60 GHz radios (instead of 2.4/5 GHz WiFi) to connect things. With WiGig you can get about 7 GB/second vs. about 500 MB/second using advanced WiFi. (Using WiGig you could transfer an HD movie to a set-top box in a couple of minutes.)

In the Intel CES Keynote and on the show floor there was evidence that WiGig is gaining traction. Intel demoed a laptop connected to displays and other peripherals using WiGig. Samsung is expecting to have some products available using the technology this year. Qualcomm demonstrated a WiGig router that should be available by the end of the year. The technology is also likely to be included in some 2015 tablets and phones as well.  

Because of the 60 GHz signaling, the technology will typically be used in line-of-site applications (so the connecting devices will need to be in the same room.) But some phone technology researchers are looking at using WiGig to increase the capacity of cell networks as well in shopping malls or even on the streets of cities. It might also be able to be used in plants where cable runs are difficult or expensive to implement.

It will take a few years for the standard to become ubiquitous, but look for greatly increased network speeds coming soon.

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