Correction of Misinformation Around WiGig

Recently, I came across an article that had questionable commentary about WiGig (or 802.11ad), which I have been covering since around 2009.  (I have been covering Wi-Fi since 2003.)  The article is from a journalist I respect.  I look forward to reading this journalists' articles.  The journalist relied on experts in the industry, but the experts are not experts on Wi-Fi and WiGig.  The article goes in the wrong direction because of their input.  The journalist's own commentary has no issues.  It really was just the analysts' commentary.  And yet they missed the most imporant points to raise about Samsung's announcements:

  • Samsung may be later to the WiGig party announcement-wise, but WiGig chipsets for portable and mobile devices will only pick up in 2H 2015 anyway.
  • Samsung's announcement makes it seem like they did something new, but their press release overhyped their announcement.  They have not done anything that Qualcomm (Wilocity), Intel, or Nitero have not done.


Here are the quotes and my commentary:


60-GHz technology will let home networks handle more data faster, and "that's the direction the industry is heading in," ______, an independent industry analyst, told __________.

Actually, networking and Internet access is something that will happen, but is a more recent way of viewing and using WiGig.  It’s primary purpose has been as a peer-to-peer connection between products, especially as a cable replacement.  Wi-Fi replaces Ethernet.  Bluetooth replaces cords for some peripherals.  WiGig serves as a cable replacement for everything, including monitors.  You will stream from a smartphone to a TV.  You will dock a smartphone / tablet / portable PC on your desk just by placing it down, and it will connect over WiGig to your monitors and other peripherals.


Samsung is one of the first companies to push toward 60 GHz, because it wants to be one of the first companies to market with a product, noted _______, principal analyst at __________.

Wilocity (acquired by Qualcomm), Intel, and Nitero have been among the first.  Others have been looking at it for a while.  If you go outside of WiGig and look to the more general 60 GHz wireless connectivity market, there is WirelessHD.  WirelessHD has been supported by many companies, but it has really only been driven by Silicon Image, who has WirelessHD chipsets shipping in real products today.  Going back to WiGig, Wilocity (now Qualcomm) has had its earlier WiGig chipsets in Dell ultrabooks and docks for a while now.


"The virtue of an IEEE standard [is] the extent that it's compatible with existing home networks based on the 801.11 standard," _____continued. "That's going to be a boost for [802.11ad]. With the current economic conditions, people won't do a forklift replacement of all their current technology."

Actually, 802.11ad is not compatible with other Wi-Fi protocols.  Devices with 11n/11ac/11ad, however, can connect to 11n and 11ac devices and access points using 11n and 11ac.  802.11ad works in 60 GHz only and can only connect to 802.11ad.  Chipsets and devices will be made to handoff between 11ad and 11ac or 11n though.


However, "most of the connected devices won't require bandwidth this high, and interference issues will still plague [60-GHz technology] used for entertainment content," _________ told _______. "Beamforming only goes so far."

The point of WiGig isn’t so much for network connectivity, although we have been saying for a while that this would also be used for network access.  The main purpose of WiGig is cable replacement for video transmission and very fast data transmission for synching between devices, downloading a movie in seconds at an airport kiosk when you are in a rush to board, etc.  The speed is to ensure things like reliably transmitting video from an ultrabook, for example, to 1, 2, or 3 monitors at the same time, and to ensure 4k video transmission goes smoothly, even with signal degradation.

Interference will not plague 60 GHz since there are not a lot of devices using 60 GHz.  Furthermore, its short range and high directionality mean that interference will be even less of an issue.  Different pairs of devices can be relatively near each other without interference because of beamforming.  The signals are not being blasted omnidirectionally as with 11n and 11ac.  Line of sight transmission will achieve a better connection, but signals can bounce around as well.