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Thursday, July 15, 2010

60GHz LAN chips take off

Startups and partnerships to drive 60GHz networks

By Nick Flaherty

The development of chips for 60GHz networking is taking off, with UK startup Blu Wireless already developing a radio and baseband digital signal processing, and US WiFi chip maker Atheros joining with Wilocity for a 60GHz chipset.
The driver for this is the establishment of the WiGig Wireless Gigabit Alliance specification for networking, distinct from the WirelessHD 60GHz format for wireless HDMI short range links. This avoids the problems of multiple competing standards that killed UltraWideband (UWB), and the leader in 60GHz WirelessHD, SiBeam, is also developing parts for WiGig.
Blu Wireless has developed a 60GHz RF chip in 40nm and is now working on the underlying DSP, with 2Gbit/s and 4Gbit/s chips in a 10 x 10mm package due next year, volume production in 2012 and a target price of $10 in 2013. My story from the Wireless2.0 conference is here. 
At the same time, Wilocity, a leading Israeli developer of 60 GHz multi-gigabit wireless chipsets for the mobile computing, consumer electronics and peripheral markets, and WiFi chip maker Atheros Communications are collaborating to build tri-band wireless solutions that combine the ubiquity and coverage of Wi-Fi with the multi-gigabit performance of WiGig. Such “tri-band” capabilities will enhance the performance and functionality of wireless devices to enable a variety of new computing and entertainment applications.
Many devices and networks use dual-band 802.11n, which operates in the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands, to share broadband connections, videos, music, photos and other content throughout a home or enterprise. Advanced 60 GHz technologies offer multi-gigabit speeds to complement existing Wi-Fi capabilities and enable new cutting-edge wireless applications. Tri-band devices that leverage all three bands will also maintain compatibility with the hundreds of millions of Wi-Fi products in use today, ensuring a seamless and simple user experience.
Atheros and Wilocity are jointly developing tri-band solutions based on both the IEEE 802.11n standard and the new WiGig multi-gigabit wireless specification. By integrating and optimizing Wi-Fi and WiGig solutions, the two companies aim to accelerate the design of tri-band wireless products and enable the next-generation wireless ecosystem.
Atheros serves on the board of directors for both the WiGig Alliance and Wi-Fi Alliance; Wilocity serves on the WiGig board and chairs its Marketing Work Group.

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