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Understanding where 802.11ad WiGig fits into the gigabit Wi-Fi picture

Mark Grodzinsky, Vice President of Marketing, Wilocity | Dec. 5, 2013
The wireless world is evolving rapidly in response to the explosion of intelligent devices, applications and data, and the IEEE 802.11ad standard, commonly known as WiGig, is poised to help.

" Receiver data processing is biggest energy consumer, rather than transmit power amplifiers.

" A full system, generating a 20+ dBm effective isotropic radiated power (EIRP) and sustaining a 4Gbps link can be built at 0.5 W (1/2 Watt), aligning well for phone/tablet integration.

* Great free space rate/range. Path loss offset by antenna gain and wide channel enables high speed, even in low signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) situations. 2Gbps at 100 feet is "easy."

" One of the biggest misconceptions of 60GHz is that it is short range.

" 60 GHz does not have a range problem. In fact, in free space line-of-sight, 60GHz has the best rate/range profile of any Wi-Fi technology.

" But 60GHz does have a blockage problem. It doesn't go through most walls or through people. Rather, it reflects. Therefore, while 60GHz has the best rate/range, it often must use this range to find a reflective path in-room to get to its target.

* Coverage. When discussing WiGig performance, we need some new terminology. Standard rate/range graphs have become familiar but do not apply here.

" One can be 100 feet away and get 2Gbps or, due to blockage and required reflections, one can be 10 feet away but only get 1Gbps.

" For WiGig, we talk about coverage. In a typical room, what percent of the time can I achieve a specific rate for example, in a conference room, 65% of the locations can achieve 4Gbps, 80% can achieve 2Gbps, and 95% can achieve 1Gbps.

* Very low latency. Around ~10 microseconds (us) round trip is real, comparable to wire latencies.

" WiGig was designed from the ground up to be extremely low latency ~10 us round trip comparable to wired-equivalent latencies. This is important, because now the latencies are close enough that you can trick the system that it is running over a wire. And if the system thinks there is a wire, you can reuse all of the software that has been developed for that environment.

For example, WiGig Wireless Bus Extension (WBE) is able to run the PCIe bus over the air, and therefore, seamlessly reuse the last decade's worth of host controllers and device drivers that have already been developed.   

In summary, WiGig offers unrivaled raw speed, interference resistance, good range, high capacity networking, multi-gigabit real throughput in a handheld power envelope, and near-wire equivalent latency. Given these benefits, WiGig is well-suited for a broad range of applications, from tri-band networking (2.4/5/60 GHz) to wireless storage and edge caching to wireless docking. Products integrating WiGig are currently available in the market, including multiple Ultrabook SKUs and a wireless docking station, and more products are on the horizon.


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