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Summary:

The Wi-Fi Alliance has teamed up with a group founded by the big chip vendors to promote a wireless HD video transfer at 7 Gbps across short distances, crushing the potential success of startups that had hoped to create their own standards.

The Wi-Fi Alliance has teamed up with a group founded by the big chip vendors to promote the standard wireless transfer of HD video across short distances at 7 Gbps, crushing the potential success of several startups that had been hoping to create standards of their own.

The going was always going to be tough for chipmakers hoping to use the relatively untouched spectrum at 60 GHz or even Wi-Fi’s spectrum at 5 GHZ to deliver wireless HD video through standards known as WirelessHD or WHDI. But once the WiGig Alliance was formed last year by Intel, Broadcom and Atheros, the future for startups such as SiBeam and Amimon dimmed considerably.

And now the WiGig Alliance has created a triple-threat in the form of a unified standard that means folks will be able to buy devices containing chips that can tune to Wi-Fi in the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands as well as the WiGig standard at 60 GHz. That means your game console or iPad could next year have a chip that sends data at Wi-Fi speeds most of the time, but could jump up to WiGig speeds when it detects a need and a corresponding chip inside a television or other video screen.

Amimon has responded by issuing a press release reiterating the benefits of the WHDI standard at 5GHz, (it’s sold more than 500,000 chips so far!), notably how its related technology can work around an entire home, not merely in-room the way 60GHz technologies do. SiBeam, meanwhile, responded by saying it plans to make chips that are compatible with both its WirelessHD and the WiGig standard. It also said that the next-generation WirelessHD spec would deliver data rates of 10 Gbps.

So we’re on our way to wireless HD video, which is awesome, but along the way we’ve seen several chips companies that hoped to end up in the sector (namely ultra wideband startups) fall. And while that’s typical, it’s also a stark reminder that chip firms are big bets that don’t </generally pay off — and that you should never bet against Wi-Fi. Even the folks behind ZigBee, the home energy management standard , know that.

Related content from GigaOM Pro (sub req’d):

Report: The Ongoing Battle for the Digital Home

  1. I definitely saw this one coming and it was just a matter of time. Hopefully this works out to benefit startup companies

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  2. Thanks for the article. We’re very excited about the prospects of adding 60 GHz operation to the Wi-Fi CERTIFIED family of technologies.

    One important thing folks should keep in mind, of course, is that Wi-Fi Alliance membership is open to all companies, regardless of size, provided they agree to our membership terms and conditions. Indeed, we have several small and startup organizations helping to develop the 60 GHz program as well as our numerous other efforts.

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  3. [...] than Wi-Fi, effectively reducing the range it is able to cover. To solve this problem the WiGig Alliance has partnered with the Wi-Fi Alliance, bundling the two technologies together so there is compatibility between the two. This means WiGig [...]

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  4. [...] The Wi-Fi Juggernaut Rolls on, Crushing Startups [...]

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  5. It is a great concept and has some very interesting applications. But the issue will be that 60GHz will not penetrate materials. At 1W 60GHz won’t even penetrate the human skin. The other issue will be how it handles multipath.

    As a wireless integrator I’m not sure it will be a huge sell to the Enterprise, but as a home theater geek I can see some cool applications!

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  6. [...] The Wi-Fi Juggernaut Rolls on, Crushing Startups [...]

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  7. [...] are detailed in a nice article over at Network World, including ones we’ve covered like the combination of Wi-Fi and wireless HD video transfer technology using spectrum in the 60GHz band and the peer-to-peer network technology known as Wi-Fi [...]

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  8. [...] the WiGig alliance that Intel formed with Atheros and Broadcom which is a similar effort to wirelessly throw content around the home using 60 GHz spectrum. Plus there are already plenty of web-connected boxes on the market today that gather content for [...]

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