WiGig pushes wireless speed to 7 gigabits

A consortium of wireless technology companies today announced a wireless technology that could achieve speeds of up to 7Gbit/s.

Details of the new standard first emerged last December when the Wireless Gigabit Alliance issued specs to its members for review. The WiGig 1.0 specification announced today is a result of those discussions.

WiGig offers theoretical maximum transfer speeds of up to 7Gbit/s - ten times faster than the current 802.11n standard. This means it could be used to send HD video. But because the technology uses the 60GHz frequency band its range will be short, limited to a maximum of around 10m.

The WiGig Alliance also announced it had signed an agreement with the Wi-Fi Alliance, the group that manages existing 802.11 wireless standards, which work on the 2.4GHz and 5GHz wavebands. The deal means future devices will be able to integrate both technologies.

Ali Sadri, president of the WiGig Alliance, said: "With this announcement today... we are one step closer to fulfilling our vision of a unified 60GHz ecosystem. We welcome all companies to join with us as we continue to drive the industry forward.”

Wi-Fi Alliance chief Edgar Figueroa also praised the deal, saying: "60GHz device connectivity will be an exciting enhancement to the capabilities of today's Wi-Fi technologies."

With the standard agreed, makers can now start to put the new technology to work – although UK users will have to wait for telecoms regulator Ofcom to authorise the use of 60GHz devices without a licence in this country. Ofcom said this should begin in most areas of the UK by the summer.

Rival systems also being touted for faster wireless include WirelessHD, with a theoretical top speed of 10Gbit/s; Sony's TransferJet, which works over short distances at up to 560Mbit/s; and Bluetooth 3.0, which has a maximum speed of 24Mbit/s.