The Wi-Fi Alliance has announced the launch of a certification programme for WiGig devices, with a view to member companies launching certified multi-gigabit-class wireless products next year.
The de facto standard in high-bandwidth wireless communication for consumer mobile devices, Wi-Fi has come a long way from its original 802.11b implementation. Modern Wi-Fi standards like 802.11ac offer theoretical data rates in excess of a gigabit per second, but are largely limited to sub-gigabit speeds per-device. WiGig, the branded variant of the 802.11ad standard, by contrast, promises to offer up to 8Gb/s of throughput even when connected to a single client device by shifting from the relatively congested 2.4GHz and 5GHz radio frequency spectrum to 60GHz, boosting performance for a trade-off in range.
Before anyone can launch a WiGig device, though, there needs to be some agreement between companies on exactly what WiGig is and how it should be implemented in order to avoid fragmentation. That's where the Wi-Fi Alliance's new certification programme comes in, allowing manufacturers to submit their WiGig devices for testing to receive a logo guaranteeing interoperability with other such logo'd devices.
'Wi-Fi has delighted users for more than 15 years, and WiGig now gives users even higher performance in a rich variety of applications unleashing an unparalleled Wi-Fi experience,' said Edgar Figueroa, president and chief executive of the Wi-Fi Alliance, at the programme's unveiling. 'WiGig further expands the Wi-Fi Certified portfolio into 60GHz, and will augment existing and developing Wi-Fi programs and technologies.'
While companies like Qualcomm have released 802.11ad hardware in the past, its use has been largely limited to enterprise deployment where a lack of cross-vendor interoperability is less of an issue. Under the certification programme, devices claiming WiGig support will be required to prove their compatibility on a test network featuring a Dell Latitude laptop with Intel Tri-Band Wireless adaptor, a Qualcomm QCA9500 802.11ad router, and reference design kits from Peraso and Socionext.
ABI Research has backed the Wi-Fi Alliance's launch with the claim that some 180 million WiGig chipsets will land in phones by the end of 2017, accounting for around half of the predicted 1.5 billion shipments by 2021.