Intel, Qualcomm Atheros Collaborate To Ensure A Robust 802.11ad WiGig Ecosystem

It wasn’t too long ago that 802.11ac became the new standard for Wi-Fi. With Wi-Fi dependent devices such as smartphones and tablets, higher network capacity became a necessity, and 802.11n could only provide so much speed. 802.11ac brought us blazing speeds that handled even the most network-hungry households; at the time, 802.11ac was more than enough for wireless demands.

Fast forward to present day, and our network demands have evolved yet again. We have more wireless devices in our households than ever before, and each device demands more data. The once venerable 802.11ac is now in 11n’s shoes. This is where the 802.11ad standard comes into play. 802.11ad, dubbed “WiGig,” is the next step in Wi-Fi’s evolution, and with it comes multi-gigabit speeds, lower latency and greater network capacity.

Qualcomm Atheros and Intel have revealed that a comprehensive WiGig ecosystem has been in development for months. The two companies have conducted numerous tests using WiGig-compatible clients across multiple scenarios. The ways wireless technology can be conducted is nearly limitless, but the partnership between Intel and Qualcomm Atheros is dedicated to addressing as many use cases as possible so as to ensure interoperability by the time consumer WiGig products hit the mainstream market.

There’s still a long way to go before we see full WiGig adoption. The first consumer 802.11ad router was announced not too long ago, and soon enough router vendors will be offering WiGig routers in droves. The question now remains: How will this technology be applied? Perhaps 4K streaming will become a non-issue on the sufficiently fast 60 GHz band? Maybe in-home streaming for VR gaming might not only be possible, but feasible? With the speed WiGig will offer, we’ll almost certainly see new ways Wi-Fi can be utilized altogether.

Alexander Quejado is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware and Tom's IT Pro. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

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  • sylentz199
    the loss of effective range is more of a downside to ad than it was from n (2.4ghz) to n/ac (5Ghz)
    I don't know how effective 60Ghz will be through a wall so you are effectively limited to one room being "super fast" on ad. That may work for home theater type setup where you need to stream 4k over limited distance but I think ac using 4x4 MU-MIMO is a much better solution than ad giving tons and tons of bandwidth. Who is that bandwidth limited on 3200Mbps (i know aggregate) ac right now?
  • anro15
    The ad variant is designed for very local usage (i.e. you put your phone down within a few feet). Even with MIMO, your still going to have major coverage issues at 60 GHz (from not having a line of sight between the two devices, to even your hand getting in the way, will have some affect on the link). Your ac network will still provide your 'core access', with the ad standard being used when it's available.

    Think more wireless dock, rather than a house wide network (though it does have some interesting potential for mesh networks).
  • CDoman
    Actually WiGig is going to change the way AV is cabled. This video shows the capabilities of a wi-gig enabled matrix switcher that eliminates the "closet" and all cables. You'll note that everything is in sync (two separate systems playing both audio and video) as well as everything at once (including an X-Box One playing TitanFall)...all wirelessly. Wi-Gig is going to be pretty slick. -->