60 GHz=60-Second HD Movie Downloads

The dream of a completely wireless home is a beautiful one — literally — except it’s not going to happen until some serious engineering matters get worked out. But the IEEE is trying. The engineering group, in conjunction with consumer electronics companies, is working on quickly transmitting large amounts of data (like an HD movie in 1 minute) over short distances through the WirelessHD standard.

The IEEE wants to use the spectrum available at 60 GHz for getting gadgets to talk to one another, but it’s hard to design chips for communicating at that frequency efficiently and cheaply. High-frequency signals diffuse quickly, which means an optimized 60 GHz network would require a lot of chips spread around a room and tightly focused antennas.

But the current iteration of 60 GHz chips are made on silicon germanium (IBM has one) rather than cheaper silicon, so filling a room with them is too pricey for the average Joe (and me). Silicon has overcome such hurdles before, and with a huge end market in devices that includes everything from varying from televisions to DVD players to camcorders, expect a CMOS innovation or a breakthrough in antennas.

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