October 26, 2016
WiGig, a super-fast Wi-Fi standard, will appear next year in “marquee” smartphones and laptops certified by the Wi-Fi Alliance. The Alliance, which is also certifying routers and other devices, says WiGig only works over a distance of about 33 feet (10 meters), meaning its use will be limited to devices within range of a WiGig router. But WiGig might be an ideal technology for virtual reality headsets, which currently need to be tethered to a PC or game console with thick cables, thus limiting movement in a VR experience.
The Verge reports that WiGig “should be fast enough to support VR,” unlike the current wireless standards. According to the Wi-Fi Alliance, WiGig should also be fast enough to support “augmented reality, 4K video and streaming phone and laptop displays to desktop monitors.”
Wi-Fi Alliance vice president of marketing Kevin Robinson reports that, “WiGig could find applications in sports stadiums and other large venues.” WiGig “relies on the same millimeter wave frequencies,” as Alphabet’s Access (also known as Google Fiber) and startup Starry, both of which want to deliver high-speed Internet “from streets to home without using cable.”
The new wireless standard 802.11ad offers support for WiGig, up to speeds of 8 Gbps, whereas “most modern phones, laptops, and routers support 802.11ac Wi-Fi, which tops out (in theory) at speeds of 4.5 Gbps.” According to The Verge, the first such 802.11ad devices are beginning to hit the market, and “some routers supporting it were announced earlier this month.”
The Wi-Fi certification program, it adds, is “the starting gun for the deployment of WiGig,” a technology that isn’t new but — say the Alliance’s major tech members — ready to “move forward” at this time.