Move over Wi-Fi, there is a new technology in town. This week the still very much in development wireless technology known as WiGig made headlines. The technology’s specifications were officially released, meaning that member companies have the green light to start building products based on this new protocol.
But just don’t expect to run out to the big box retailer or office supply store to look to replace your existing wireless technology. Nor should this technology be seen as a replacement for Wi-Fi, and certainly not WiMAX. In fact, this technology might not exactly be tailored for business at all.
WiGig was devised to be a short-range wireless technology that has the promise to be about 10 times faster than today’s 802.11 speeds. The promise is that it could deliver a full-length HD movie in about 45 seconds, compared to the 45 minutes that it could take with Wi-Fi. The idea is essentially meant to streamline and simplify the home theater setup, so WiGig is really about home entertainment, making streaming of content easier.
As a side note, it is interesting to see that when files are used for business it is called “data,” but when it is for after-hours uses it is “content.” But regardless of the file type or the actual contents of the information, data and content are just digital versions or non-physical versions. Thus WiGig could be something that has potential business applications, especially for the home office, or small office.
Part of the concept of WiGig is to create a technology that provides what the developers call a “wireless ecosystem of interoperable, high performance devices that work together seamlessly.” While that is great for anyone who wants to go beyond a home-theater-in-a-box for their movie viewing experience, it has the potential to make it easier to move data/content from handheld devices and PCs. And do so with “instantaneous” file transfers.
The WiGig standard utilizes the 60GHz radio band for data transfers, as compared to the current Wi-Fi technologies that operate on the 2.4 and 5GHz bands. One notable factor too in the WiGig development is that the technology isn’t competing with Wi-Fi either. In fact, the Wi-Fi Alliance will be partnered with the Wireless Gigabit Alliance. This is no surprise as many of the companies involved in the latter are also members of the former. That’s business as usual in this technology space. And a good thing at that, as it means there won’t be fears of a competing wireless technology to confuse consumers and annoy IT specialists. One point that has already been made clear is that WiGig won’t replace the 802.11n protocol, or even make it obsolete. The partner companies have pledged to even make WiGig products backward compatible so for many users it will be quite a seamless integration – or at least as seamless as any wireless protocol can be.
Among those partner companies are Atheros, Broadcom, Cisco, Dell, Intel, Microsoft and Nokia, so it is easy enough to envision that these companies will see this technology’s usages beyond transfer of movies. For one thing, it isn’t too hard to imagine how much easier it might make backing up a device wirelessly. WiGig however won’t be able to handle large distances, as it was developed as a way to make transfers easier in smaller spaces, so this is by no means a replacement for Wi-Fi – and certainly not WiMAX. But it could be a killer of another short-range wireless technology, notably Bluetooth. Now comes the hard part, and that’s waiting for such devices to actually show up, as they probably won’t be available until 2011 or 2012.