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May 10, 2010

Wi-Fi Alliance, WiGig Alliance Team for Multi-Gigabit Wireless Networking

By Anshu Shrivastava, TMCnet Contributor

The Wi-Fi Alliance and the Wireless Gigabit Alliance (WiGig Alliance) have announced a cooperation agreement for multi-gigabit wireless networking.

The Wi-Fi Alliance (News - Alert) is a global non-profit industry association of companies devoted to the proliferation of Wi-Fi technology across devices and market segments, while WiGig Alliance was formed to establish a global ecosystem of, high-speed and easy-to-use wireless devices.

The agreement calls on both Wi-Fi Alliance and the WiGig Alliance to share technology specifications for the development of a next-generation Wi-Fi Alliance certification program that support Wi-Fi operation in the 60 GHz frequency band.

Additionally, this agreement encourages the development of products supporting 60 GHz technology to expand existing Wi-Fi capabilities.

In the 60 GHZ band, device connectivity is expected to complement the current family of Wi-Fi technologies. 60 GHz products have been primarily developed for applications that require gigabit speeds, and expected to be used in a wide range of high-performance devices. Moreover, a portion of these devices are expected to also support traditional Wi-Fi networking in the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands.

"60 GHz device connectivity will be an exciting enhancement to the capabilities of today's Wi-Fi technologies," said Edgar Figueroa, CEO at Wi-Fi Alliance, adding that it'll expand the utility of Wi-Fi, used by hundreds of millions of people every day.

Figueroa added that from its inception, the WiGig specification was designed to work on a wide variety of devices, making it a "compelling input as we begin to define our certification program for 60 GHz wireless."

In addition to defining protocols to deliver data transfer rates measured in gigabits rather than megabits and supports a new range of applications and usages, the WiGig specification also defines procedures that enable WiGig compliant devices to hand over sessions to operate in the 2.4 or 5 GHz band.

It is expected that a new class of tri-band Wi-Fi CERTIFIED devices will offer multi-gigabit wireless speeds while helping to ensure backward compatibility.

"Now that our specification is complete and published, it's time to set our sights on driving a great user experience through interoperability and certification," said Dr. Ali Sadri, president and chairman at WiGig Alliance.

Phil Solis, practice director for Wireless Connectivity at ABI Research (News - Alert), believes that this agreement will enable 60 GHz technology to form an important part of the high-performance future for wireless networking.

"By cooperating, the groups have set a course for interoperability and backward compatibility that will accelerate the adoption and usefulness of multi-gigabit wireless networking," Solis said.

Anshu Shrivastava is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Anshu's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Erin Harrison

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