Samsung claims a WiGig breakthrough that promises multi-gigabit wireless speeds

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Samsung has developed a 60 GHz Wi-Fi technology, the company announced on Sunday. The technology, also known as WiGig, should be truly gigabit and will be able to transfer up to 575 megabytes in a single second, which works out to 4.6Gbps. These transfer speeds promise to be many times faster than current Wi-Fi networks, which work on the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands.

Using the new 60 GHz technology, a “1GB movie will take less than three seconds to transfer between devices,” Samsung claims. Imagine getting USB-quality transfer speeds but without any cables needed.

While other WiGig companies like [company]Inte[/company], Wilocity (now owned by [company]Qualcomm[/company]) and Nitero have been developing super-fast radios that work 60GHz channel, Samsung claims they’ve actually produced these enhanced speeds by fixing interference issues caused by other devices on the channel.

The millimeter wave band that [company]Samsung[/company] is using has several advantages and one big disadvantage. What it has going for it is that the 60 GHz airwaves are unlicensed, and it is capable of the providing the capacity needed for multi-gigabit data rates.

The downside is that networks using the 60 GHz frequency tend to have natural interference problems, so devices transferring data would need to be close by and in line-of-sight of each other. Walls, water, and even oxygen scatter 60 GHz signals. To ameliorate this issue, Samsung has developed “high-performance modem technologies” as well as a “wide-coverage beam-forming antenna,” which should help line-of-sight issues.

Samsung has been working on this technology for years. In 2011, Jerry Pi, who at the time was a senior researcher for Samsung, presented at the Texas Wireless summit how millimeter wave spectrum can deliver fast wireless connections. Even then his presentation surrounded how to use beam-forming — or using multiple MIMO-equipped antennas to send signals directly at devices — to overcome natural limitations inherent with 60 GHz networks.

Samsung’s technology appears to be interoperable with other WiGig products. Based on the IEEE’s 802.11ad standard, WiGig is being groomed by the Wi-Fi Alliance as a extremely fast but short range complement to traditional Wi-Fi. At some point next year, Qualcomm says you can expect WiGig chipsets in certain smartphones. There are other competing technologies that use the 60GHz band, like WirelessHD.

This announcement means that one of the largest consumer device makers will be embracing WiGig. Samsung is planning to incorporate its new technology into consumer-facing audio and video products, medical devices, and telecommunications equipment as soon as early next year. The most important devices to get WiGig will be smartphones and TVs — so consumers can stream large video files from one to the other — and Samsung makes a lot of both. The company also remarked that this tech will be “integral” to Samsung’s smart home and internet of things efforts.

3 Comments

gman

I’m failing to see how this is different than the Wilocity chipsets that have been shipping as an option in some Dell products for almost two years now.

And with beamforming, those line-of-sight issues aren’t as bad as you may think. I’ve seen demos getting better than Wi-Fi throughput even though the AP is in the next room. It’s part of the specification for the standard, so it’s not like Samsung is doing anything special here.

Kif Leswing

I agree — this isn’t a huge deal. It’s actually mostly Samsung spin.

What it does mean is that Samsung is totally aboard the WiGig train and we’ll see them start to implement it next year.

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