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Summary:

At Mobile World Congress, Wilocity unveiled its first WiGig chip for smartphones, promising connection speeds of 4.6 Gbps on local-area networks. Don’t expect a rash of WiGig-powered phones this year though.

WiGig

WiGig chips are starting to creep into laptops, PCs and docking stations, but one of the biggest backers of the new multi-gigabit wireless networking standard is ready to take the next step: putting WiGig into a smartphone.

At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Wilocity took the wraps off its first smartphone WiGig chip, the Wil6300, which it will demo at MWC and start shipping to device makers in the third quarter. Wilocity claims it will support a 4.6 Gbps connection to the phone by tapping into the ultra-high-frequency 60 GHz airwaves.

Wilocity is keeping one step ahead of the networking market, but it would be premature to expect an invasion of WiGig smartphones by next Christmas. Typically new wireless local area networking technologies start in the PC market and branch out from there, and we’re only starting to see WiGig make its way into laptops. Wilocity has shipped 1 million of its first-generation chips so far, but its biggest customer Dell is mainly using their ultra-fast links to connect PCs wirelessly to docking stations and desktop peripherals.

Dell's WiGig-powered wireless docking station

Dell’s WiGig-powered wireless docking station

WiGig is designed to augment Wi-Fi, not replace it. In exchange for speed it sacrifices range, making it ideal for connecting nearby devices in the same room, though not for building an office-wide network. In the smartphone, a perfect use case for WiGig would be streaming a 4K video from a handset directly to a TV or media center, but that will have to wait until we see WiGig in a broader range of electronic appliances.

In reality, there are really no official WiGig devices in the market yet. The organization that overseas WiGig, the Wi-Fi Alliance, will start certifying the first WiGig devices this year.

This story was updated Monday to correct the name of the chip being demonstrated at MWC.

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  1. its 4.6 Gbps.. not Mbps (in the summary).
    Mbps is not so impressive

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    1. That typo is fixed.

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