FAQ: WiGig Alliance wireless technology

The Wireless GigaBit Alliance officially releases its specifications Monday

How fast is WiGig?

The WiGig specification will allow for wireless multigigabit data transfer at speeds of up to 7 Gigabits-per-second or more, which is ten times faster than current Wi-Fi speeds.

To give you an idea of how fast that is, one hour of high-definition video can take up to 45 minutes to transfer over current Wi-Fi, but a WiGig connection can cut down the transfer time for that same one-hour HD video to less than a minute, according to WiGig representatives.

Who is supporting multi-gigabit wireless?

Right now, major technology firms like Atheros, Broadcom, Cisco, Dell, Intel, Microsoft, Nokia, and many others are part of the WiGig alliance.

When will multigigabit devices hit store shelves?

Devices that support the new 60GHz multigigabit wireless standard are expected to become available by 2011 or 2012. There's no word on cost or how widely available the technology will be.

Great, so my laptop with 802.11n is going to be obsolete?

No. One of the goals of the new agreement between the Wi-Fi Alliance and the WiGig Alliance is to make sure that a majority of the coming multigigabit devices will be backward compatible with 802.11n devices.

How far will a WiGig signal reach?

When 60GHz devices first launch, you can expect them to have a relatively small range--about the length of the average living room. By comparison, Wi-Fi can travel over 100 yards or more.

Are there competing 60GHz standards?

One competitor to the WiGig Alliance is the WirelessHD specification supported by the WirelessHD Consortium, which includes WiGig supporters like Broadcom and Intel, as well as companies like Panasonic, Samsung, and Sony. Like WiGigm, WirelessHD is also capable of transferring audio and video signals, as well as data transfer between computers. The WirelessHD Consortium claims its multigigabit standard can transfer data at speeds of up to 10Gbps at a maximum distance of 32 feet, compared to WiGig's maximum speed of 7Gbps.

What's not clear, however, is whether WirelessHD and WiGig will end up in a format war to decide which standard will win out as the multigigabit wireless standard, or whether the two can coexist. Xavier Ortiz, an analyst for technology market research firm ABI Research, recently told ComputerWorld that WiGig and WirelessHD may avoid a format war if WiGig became the standard for data transfer between computers, while WirelessHD focused on wireless connectivity between televisions, disc players and other home theater equipment.

Whether proponents for WirelessHD and WiGig share Ortiz's sentiments for coexistence remains to be seen.

Connect with Ian on Twitter (@ianpaul).

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Wireless Gigabit AllianceWiGig Alliance

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Ian Paul

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?