60GHz multi-gigabit wireless - from I/O, to video, to networking

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WiFi technology has become the mainstream for mobile data processing. Industry players have added 60GHz ultra-high frequency wireless transmission under the existing 2.4/5GHz frequency band to meet the wireless connectivity requirements from I/O, to video, to networking.

WiFi driving the mobile revolution

Tal Tamir, CEO of Wilocity, indicated that WiFi has become the mainstay of mobile data traffic processing. However, the WiFi technology has to be improved because the transmission capacity or architecture it needs to handle is even more demanding than that handled by wired connectivity. From mobile devices, PCs, digital home devices (such as TVs) to networking infrastructure (such as base stations) - going wireless is the trend.

Most mobile devices do not come with docking stations. But statistics gathered by Wilocity indicates that over 30% of the computing platforms require new docking solutions. Access points (APs) have become personal wireless hotspots. In the past, people usually stored their data in their PCs' built-in or external hard drives. Today, data can be stored in the Cloud and accessed through a variety of platforms, which are now more mobile-centric than PC-centric. Data transmission now serves a much wider array of e-content, such as videos, pictures and music than just texts.

WiFi faces challenges from massive surge in mobile data traffic

The networking infrastructure was primarily based on wired connectivity in the past. But large-scale outdoor base stations needed in the past have been replaced by small-cell wireless backhauls. Such changes in applications and deployments are expected to bring the accumulated number of WiFi devices to more than 2.1 billion by 2014, and more than 30 billion by 2020. Video content accounts for 66% of mobile data, and 60% of this traffic is offloaded to the backend WiFi devices during transmission. It is estimated that by 2017, wireless devices will account for 55% of the transmission traffic, exceeding the volume handled by wired devices. This has raised concerns about whether the existing WiFi specifications can handle the surge in mobile traffic.

Tal Tamir pointed out that at present, 802.11g is capable of transmission speeds up to 54 Mbps, 802.11n up to 600 Mbps, 802.11ac up to 1.7Gbps, and the new 802.11ad up to 7 Gbps. According to analysis by the IEEE HEW group, the network traffic jam in 2015 will be worse than that in today's environment, which is primarily based on the 2.4 GHz frequency band. For example, for a 3,600-square foot office with 48 work areas connected by the traditional Gbps Ethernet, the total bandwidth amounts to 48 Gbps. If the 60GHz 802.11ad is adopted for wireless deployment, the total transmission capacity can reach up to 138 Gbps/3,600 sqft when 50% of the users are using the network.

Addressing concerns over 60GHz being short-distance transmission, Tal Tamir explained that smaller antenna can be designed for the 60GHz technology coupled with straight ray tracing and reflective transmission technology. If a 60GHz wireless AP is installed at the center of a ceiling with vertical signal reflectors at the four corners of a room, the entire room will be covered by the 60GHz 802.11ad wireless checkerboard-like signal grid. There will be little loss of signal (LOS) for a 4,000-square foot space, except for some areas where the transfer speed may be downgraded to 802.11ac/801.11n. The 1,000 square feet around the center will mostly have the full-speed 802.11ad coverage.

WiGig incorporated into WiFi

The IEEE 802.11ad wireless transmission standard was finalized in December 2012. The 60GHz WiGig wireless video transmission technology promoted by the WiGig Alliance in 2009 was incorporated into the WiFi standard, and it is compatible with the existing 802.11b/g/n/ac. WiGig is characterized by bidirectional beam-formed transmission with speeds reaching up to 7Gbps. It can transmit uncompressed Full HD video at a distance of over 10 meters. At present, Wilocity is the only 802.11ad/WiGig chip provider, and a WiGig/WFA plug-fest test will be conducted in 2014 under the latest WiFi Association plan.

Tal Tamir played a video showcasing a 100Gbps dense network set up by Wilocity. Over seventy-two 802.11ad/WiGig transceivers were set up in a room. Each computer/notebook is positioned only less than a meter away from a transceiver. Each network device can transmit wirelessly and play 1080p videos, and the actual file copy speed can exceed 50MB/s. According to the project leader, the total transmission bandwidth is over 100Gbps and the transmission bandwidth shared by each square meter (or 10 square feet) can reach up to 3Gbps.

Wilocity's tri-band Wifi

Wilocity is a fables IC design company founded in 2007 with the goal of achieving wireless connectivity for monitors, storage devices and peripherals within the next 5 to 10 years. It pioneered the WiGig wireless network chip that has now been incorporated by the IEEE as the 802.11ad standard. Wilocity is currently cooperating with Qualcomm and Marvell to provide 802.11n (2.4GHz), 802.11ac (5GHz) and 802.11ad (60GHz) tri-band wireless solutions, and is expected to unveil mobile 802.11ad solutions in early 2014.

Tal Tamir, CEO of Wilocity

Tal Tamir, CEO of Wilocity