WiFi and WiGig Alliances become one, work to promote 60GHz wireless

The WiFi Alliance and Wireless Gigabit Alliance have a pretty long history of working together. The two are ringing in the new year by removing the last barrier to their cooperation and officially becoming one organization. By the end of the year the group hopes to have an interoperability program launched for 60GHz wireless under the banner of the new unified WiFi Alliance. The hope is that joining forces will lead to broader compatibility and quicker adoption of of the high speed wireless standard. For now there's no new products to announce, but expect a year full exciting wireless developments. For a few more details and some salient quotes from the involved parties, hit up the PR after the break.

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Wi-Fi Alliance® and Wireless Gigabit Alliance to unify

Multi-gigabit WiGig technology gaining momentum; certification and technology development efforts to consolidate in Wi-Fi Alliance

Austin, Texas and Santa Clara, California, January 3, 2013 – Wi-Fi Alliance® and the Wireless Gigabit (WiGig) Alliance have executed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) outlining their plans to consolidate activity in Wi-Fi Alliance. The agreement builds on more than two years of collaboration between the organizations, in which WiGig Alliance developed the groundbreaking WiGig technology specifications including MAC-PHY and Protocol Adaptation Layers (PALs) and Wi-Fi Alliance initiated work to develop an interoperability certification for 60GHz products.

"This is an exciting technology, and has been an important highlight of our certification roadmap for some time, so we are delighted to take this step," said Wi-Fi Alliance president and CEO Edgar Figueroa. "Combining the expertise of Wi-Fi Alliance and WiGig Alliance will deliver a terrific user experience with 60 GHz solutions, and will help ensure that a full range of interoperable WiGig solutions reach the market as quickly as possible."

WiGig technology has continued to gain significant momentum, and will soon bring users closer to a future of truly seamless wireless connectivity complementing the traditional Wi-Fi® networking. WiGig offers short-range multi-gigabit connections for applications ranging from high-definition WiGig Display Extensions (WDE), to peripheral connectivity and I/O cable replacement such as WiGig Serial Extension (WSE), WiGig Bus Extension (WBE) and WiGig SDIO Extension (WDS). Early 60 GHz implementations based on the WiGig specifications are entering the market now and ABI Research forecasts that by 2016, annual shipments of devices with both Wi-Fi and WiGig technology will reach 1.8 billion.

"We set out four years ago with the simple goal of realizing a global wireless ecosystem of interoperable, high-performance devices that would operate seamlessly. In that time there have been many challenges to overcome but we have now created a market that simply did not previously exist. Consolidating activities with the Wi-Fi Alliance at this juncture will ensure WiGig's mainstream success to the benefit of technology users everywhere," said Dr Ali Sadri, President and Chairman of the WiGig Alliance.

"It's clear that 60 GHz technology is an important part of the future of wireless connectivity, and a significant complement to traditional Wi-Fi networking," said Peter Cooney, practice director for semiconductors at ABI Research. "With so many devices expected to incorporate both traditional Wi-Fi and WiGig, it just makes sense for activities to consolidate under the Wi-Fi Alliance organization."

Consolidation of the activities in Wi-Fi Alliance is intended to bring greater efficiency, ensure closely-harmonized connectivity and application-layer solutions using the technology, and leverage WiGig technology know-how across the range of Wi-Fi technologies. The first Wi-Fi Alliance interoperability certification program for WiGig products is targeted to launch late this year.

Under the terms of the MOU, the organizations will enter a period of diligence and planning, with the intent to complete transition of both the technology development activity and WiGig assets to Wi-Fi Alliance by the middle of 2013.