Watch Out Wi-Fi -- There's a New Gig in Town

Thursday, May 7, 2009  |  Updated 10:45 AM PDT
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Watch Out Wi-Fi -- There's a New Gig in Town

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Who doesn't want a faster wireless way to connect?

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Bye-bye wi-fi?

Computer and home entertainment industry leaders, including Intel, Microsof, Dell, and Panasonic, are forming a new association to create an even faster wireless technology for zipping large files around the home.

WiGig will be more than 10 times faster than Wi-Fi, and should be able to deliver high-definition video from computers and set-top boxes to TV sets without the need for unsightly wires, the companies claimed.

The range will be shorter than Wi-Fi -- WiGig will work well within a room, and perhaps extend to an adjacent room as well.

There are already several technologies competing for the job of in-home wireless video transmission. WirelessHD, championed by SiBEAM Inc. of Sunnyvale, Calif., is designed specifically to link set-top boxes and Blu-ray players to TV sets. WHDI, invented by Amimon Corp. of Israel, uses Wi-Fi-like technology to do the same thing.

Ali Sadri, chairman of the newly formed Wireless Gigabit Alliance and an Intel executive, said WiGig was not a direct competitor to technologies like WirelessHD, but has broader goals. It aims to link not just TVs, but cell phones, video cameras and PCs as well.

Both WiGig and WirelessHD will use the 60 gigahertz frequency band, a largely unused space in the airwaves that allows for extremely high transfer speeds at short ranges. Sadri said WiGig will be capable of transfers at 6 gigabits per second, roughly fast enough to transmit the contents of a DVD in 15 seconds.

The WiGig Alliance aims to complete a "specification," or basic blueprint for compatible devices, late this year. Products could follow next year.

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