Yes folks, we're back to the drawing board. Again. With a litany of wireless technologies floundering about and struggling to find real traction in the market, a cadre of market powerhouses have joined up to take wireless streaming to the next level -- or so they say, anyway. The newly formed WiGig Alliance aims to use unlicensed 60GHz waves in order to stream just about anything you can think of: HD video, images, phone contacts, instant messages, audio, etc. This "unified" approach differs from most other alternatives, which generally pick one niche (1080p video, for instance) and stick to it. If the more than 15 technology firms have their collective druthers, the WiGig specification will find its way into everything from set-top-boxes to telephones to home stereos, ready and willing to stream to other WiGig-enabled devices at a moment's notice.
The group consists of household names such as Microsoft, LG, Dell, Samsung, Marvell, Nokia, NEC, Intel and Broadcom (just to name a few), and when we spoke to executives about the announcement, they told us that plans were to have the specification available to member organizations in Q4 of this year. The sad part is that this likely means we won't see shipping products with the WiGig logo for another year after that -- if we're lucky. We can't argue that some stability would be nice in this volatile sector; after all, we've been waiting for promising products like Belkin's FlyWire to ship for well over a year. The execs we spoke with couldn't speak on behalf of the partner firms in terms of what WiGig products were looming on the horizon, but as we alluded to earlier, the playing field is wide open. Honestly, we'd love for this to take off and finally give high-bandwidth wireless applications the support it needs to flourish, but as we've seen over the past few years, the road ahead ain't an easy one to walk. The full release is after the break.
Industry Leaders Form Wireless Gigabit Alliance to Promote 60 GHz Wireless Technology
Diverse Group of PC, Consumer Electronics, Handheld and Semiconductor Companies Unite to Develop High Speed Wireless Ecosystem
SAN JOSE, Calif. – May 7, 2009 – More than 15 technology companies today announced the Wireless Gigabit (WiGig) Alliance, an organization formed to establish a unified specification for 60 Gigahertz (GHz) wireless technologies. The widespread availability and use of digital multimedia content has created an ever-increasing need for faster wireless connectivity that current wireless standards cannot support. This has fueled demand for a single technology that can support instantaneous file transfers, wireless display and docking, and streaming high definition media on a variety of devices. To meet this demand, WiGig Alliance is developing a 60 GHz wireless technology that provides the optimal way to connect consumer electronics, handheld devices and personal computers.
The WiGig specification will allow devices to communicate without wires at gigabit speeds within a typical room. The group's vision is to create a global ecosystem of interoperable products based on this specification, which will unify the next generation of entertainment, computing and communications devices at speeds more than 10 times faster than today's wireless LANs.
Bringing together a diverse group of leading wireless semiconductor, PC, consumer electronics and handheld device manufacturers, WiGig Alliance is creating a unified 60 GHz specification that meets the performance and energy efficiency requirements of many types of wireless devices and applications all around the world. This will drive an interoperable ecosystem of easy-to-use, high speed, low power wireless products. Among the companies that comprise this industry-leading board of directors are:
• Atheros Communications, Inc.
• Broadcom Corporation
• Dell, Inc.
• Intel Corporation
• LG Electronics Inc.
• Marvell International LTD.
• MediaTek Inc.
• Microsoft Corporation
• NEC Corporation
• Nokia Corporation
• Panasonic Corporation
• Samsung Electronics Co.
"Our member companies are leaders in the wireless, CE, PC and handheld markets. They have the technical acumen and business experience to make the 60 GHz wireless technology a reality for both the home and enterprise," said Dr. Ali Sadri, President and Chairman of the Wireless Gigabit Alliance. "To help bring this technology to market, we welcome new member companies to join our group."
WiGig Alliance members are defining a unified specification that leverages the unlicensed 60 GHz spectrum to provide unprecedented wireless performance. This technology is being designed from the ground up to address the specific requirements of various platforms, to coexist with future 60 GHz solutions and complement millions of Wi-Fi devices already in use around the world. Wireless docking, display and entertainment, without performance compromise, will become a reality with gigabit-speed wireless I/O and eliminate the unsightly cables that clutter today's homes and offices.
"We're now at the point where the last barrier to wireless being able to do everything that wire can has fallen," said Craig Mathias, a Principal with the wireless and mobile advisory firm, Farpoint Group. "In both the residence and the enterprise, more capacity and throughput are always desirable. WiGig Alliance is going to deliver technology that will have an enormous impact on connectivity and mobility, information technology, consumer electronics, and many other applications."
The WiGig specification is expected to be available to member companies in Q4 of 2009. To register as an adopter in advance of the final specification, visit http://wigig.org/specification.
About the Wireless Gigabit Alliance
The Wireless Gigabit Alliance envisions a global wireless ecosystem of interoperable, extremely high performance consumer electronics, handheld devices and personal computers that work together seamlessly to connect people in the digital age. WiGig's technology enables multi-gigabit-speed wireless communications among these devices and fuels industry convergence to a single radio using the readily available, unlicensed 60 GHz spectrum. By bringing together the leading manufacturers of semiconductors, personal computers, consumer electronics and handheld devices, WiGig Alliance is creating a comprehensive specification to drive a global ecosystem of easy-to-use, interoperable, high speed wireless products.
Among the companies that comprise this industry-leading board of directors are Atheros Communications, Inc., Broadcom Corporation, Dell, Inc., Intel Corporation, LG Electronics Inc., Marvell International LTD., MediaTek Inc., Microsoft Corporation, NEC Corporation, Nokia Corporation, Panasonic Corporation, Samsung Electronics Co. and Wilocity. At launch, these founding companies are also joined by the following contributor companies; NXP, Realtek, STMicroelectronics and Tensorcom, Inc. For more information, please visit http://www.wirelessgigabitalliance.org.
Wireless Gigabit Alliance and WiGig are trademarks of the Wireless Gigabit Alliance.