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Wireless Networking Hardware

60GHz Uber-WiFi Proposed By New WiGig Group 127

judgecorp writes "A new vendor group has promised a Gigabit wireless specification by the end of this year. The Wireless Gigabit (WiGig) spec is apparently 80 percent done and, since it is aimed at high-definition TV, it has to go at more than 3Gbps. There's around 7GHz of spectrum freely available in the 60GHz band, so it's technically feasible, and with all the major Wi-Fi silicon vendors on board (as well as Microsoft, Dell, Nokia and others) WiGig looks to have the political muscle too. They should be aware of the Sibeam-led WirelessHD group, though, already in the 60GHz space, and Ultrawideband (UWB) is not dead, as there are actual, real UWB products."
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60GHz Uber-WiFi Proposed By New WiGig Group

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  • I'm confused... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Max Romantschuk ( 132276 ) <> on Thursday May 07, 2009 @02:43PM (#27864385) Homepage

    Having work experience with HD streams, I can verify that with modern h.264 compression you can easily fit a 720p HD stream in under 10Mbps, with acceptable quality.

    Aimed at HD video? Can't we just call it faster? ;)

    • by cymen ( 8178 )

      My thoughts exactly -- I suspect this is purely for marketing purposes to convince those not aware of the details to upgrade the home wifi. On the flip side, maybe we'll see better default security.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Security for the user, probably no more than ordinary wi-fi. Security against the user? Well, if this is designed to transport "premium content" you don't even have to guess.
    • by Aladrin ( 926209 )

      At least they didn't measure it in Libraries of Congress per second.

      • I have no idea what I'm talking about here but what is "7GHz of spectrum" supposed to mean? Isn't 7GHz a particular frequency on the spectrum? It sounds like they see a free space between, say, 1GHz and 8GHz and call that 7GHz of spectrum as if you sell spectrum by the GHz.. but can't you transmit more information in the 7-14 GHz range than in the 0-7GHz range? Can someone who knows what they're talking about confirm this? It seems to make sense; you can transmit more information on a 1KHz carrier than on a
        • Yes, it's a range. Think about it. 14 GHz - 7 GHz is still 7 GHz, so it can be a particular frequency, but the range of frequencies uses the same unit. It's like how you can say something is 10 feet away or how something is 10 feet long, between 10 feet away and 20 feet away.

          • This info is old hat ... IBM proposed a 60 GHz system several years ago. 60 GHz does not penetrate walls, so each room that requred coverage had a transceiver in the ceiling.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Andy Dodd ( 701 )

          It means that there is a 7 GHz wide range of frequencies that is free somewhere around 60 GHz.

          e.g. 60-67 might be a possibility, or it might be 57-64.

          It's easier to use 7 GHz of spectrum at 60 GHz than 7 GHz of spectrum centered at 10, because the range is a lower percentage of the center frequency of the range.

          That said, the range at 60 GHz is going to be insanely short.

        • It is a range of frequencies:

          there's around 7GHz of spectrum freely available in the 60GHz band

          So, I take that as something like 56.5 GHz to 63.49999GHz. I didn't see anywhere in TFA what the actual range is.
          By comparison, 802.11 devices use the 2.450 GHz band, from 2.4 GHz to 2.49999 GHz, or only 1 MHz of spectrum, to use the same terms as the summary.

        • by Ibiwan ( 763664 )
          You are correct: you have no idea what you're talking about here. As other people have already mentioned, GHz can refer both to the frequency on the spectrum and to a range of frequencies. As you say, 7GHz is the range of frequencies available to send data in.

          However, the carrier frequency does NOT matter in this -- assuming no interference, atmosphere, etc., exactly the same amount of information can be carried in the frequencies from 0-7GHz as from 7-14GHz.

          If it helps you to picture it, picture a
          • Carrier frequency doesn't matter?

            Sir, I'll have you know that

            ************CARRIER LOST **************

          • But if your carrier frequency is 1GHz the "shape of the frequency graph" can go both above and below the center point, and if your carrier frequency is 1Hz you can't realistically go very far below..
            • by Ibiwan ( 763664 )
              The math actually supports negative frequencies fairly easily. No, I can't give a convenient physical example for that -- if only because I never wrapped my mind around it intuitively myself. Still, bandwidth centered at zero (raw data, no carrier frequency) takes up as much of a frequency range as the same signal modulated to ride a higher frequency.
    • Maybe they're looking for uncompressed (as in lossless) 1080p instead of compressed 720p? I don't have numbers, but offhand 3Gbps sounds like it could be right for that.

    • Re:I'm confused... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by wjh31 ( 1372867 ) on Thursday May 07, 2009 @02:51PM (#27864533) Homepage
      accptable quality at 720p is one thing, but excellent quality at 1080p is another
      • by Andy Dodd ( 701 )

        Keep in mind that there's a limitation of source content. If your source content is compressed, that's the limit on quality. Right now the best source content generally available to consumers is Blu-Ray. 1x Blu-Ray is 36 megabits/sec.

        Redcode RAW (used by the RED ONE) maxes at 288 megabits/sec for 4K cinema video.

        • by wjh31 ( 1372867 )
          as one grows, the other will follow
        • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

          Keep in mind that there's a limitation of source content. If your source content is compressed, that's the limit on quality. Right now the best source content generally available to consumers is Blu-Ray. 1x Blu-Ray is 36 megabits/sec.

          Redcode RAW (used by the RED ONE) maxes at 288 megabits/sec for 4K cinema video.

          Yeah, but you want an excess of bandwidth to prevent dropping bits in the first place. Plus, even though it's short range, it's conceivable that your neighbour sets the exact same thing up on the ot

          • Plus, even though it's short range, it's conceivable that your neighbour sets the exact same thing up on the other side of the wall.

            At 60GHz it doesn't really matter if your neighbours walls are made out of paper. Not much interference is going to happen here. About the only noisy stuff you might come across is RADAR, and you don't often see that above 40GHz (Source: Me, former ELINT drone)

        • Please stop referencing the RED ONE. There are plenty of other cameras in use. Many of them are far superior, and many are as good or better, for the same price.

          Why is everyone on the RED ONE's cock?

      • by Fuzzums ( 250400 )

        Wait for this : []

        56 inch screen 21:9 screenratio and 2560 x 1080p
        I saw one last weekend and it's COOL!

        Widescreen is SO last year ;)

        Of course a beamer is a whole lot cheaper.

        • Retarded.
          People already bitch about having pillar boxes on 4:3 content. Now they'll get pillar boxes on 16:9 content, while 4:3 content fills up just what, 57% of the screen (I'm estimating here)?

    • What about 1080p? Knowing nothing about the internal workings of a modern telly, I have to ask can my Sony LCD extract a compressed stream? The 3Gbps number is about the same as the 4.2Gpbs datarate that you can get off BlueRay implying that this technology would be a suitable replacement for the HDMI cable carrying an uncompressed stream between player and TV.
      • ...implying that this technology would be a suitable replacement for the HDMI cable carrying an uncompressed stream between player and TV

        Or for streaming a full 1080p signal from one player to another. Consider people who have multiple TVs and computers in the same house and therefore multiple devices capable of playing HD movies. You have a movie on one device and want to play it on another. Your options right now would be to compress the video, run cable (not use wireless networking), or wait for it to buffer/copy over from one machine to another. Actually running cable might not even quite be fast enough, if it's true that you need 3

    • Sure you can (Score:3, Informative)

      by LanMan04 ( 790429 )

      Sure you can. A good quality (not insane quality, but good) movie at 720p is typically encoded to fill a DVD5 (4.37GB)

      4.37GB = 4474.88MB = 35799.04Mb

      So we need to stuff 35799 megabits down a pipe in 2 hours or so.

      2 hours = 120 minutes = 7200 seconds

      35799/7200 = 4.97208 Mb/sec

      So you need a sustained transfer rate of about 5 megabits per second to stream a 4.37GB movie in 2 hours.

      • Sure you can. A good quality (not insane quality, but good) movie at 720p is typically encoded to fill a DVD5 (4.37GB)

        4.37GB = 4474.88MB = 35799.04Mb

        So we need to stuff 35799 megabits down a pipe in 2 hours or so.

        2 hours = 120 minutes = 7200 seconds

        35799/7200 = 4.97208 Mb/sec

        So you need a sustained transfer rate of about 5 megabits per second to stream a 4.37GB movie in 2 hours.

        Methinks you've got the bits and bytes a bit mixed up there...
        Fortunately, 802.11g would (theoretically) be able to handle ~40Mbit/s required for your example. 802.11n should be able to handle even top quality 720p.

    • Uncompressed video is 3 Gbps, you need it for wireless HDMI.
      • 24 (bits per pixel)
        1920 (pixels per frame width)
        1080 (pixels per frame height)
        60 (frames per second)

        Add in your audio/other crap.
        You've got damn near 3 Gbps, son!

    • 1080p please.

      GREAT quality, not just acceptable please.
      Multiple audio streams please.
      Multiple captioning/subtitle streams (not that these add size worth mentioning, I just want it).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 07, 2009 @02:50PM (#27864519)

    This will be a VERY short range technology. Oxygen absorbed everything at 60GHz. This was actually classified secret for a long time - in the pre-encryption days, all sensitive wireless communication occurred at this frequency because even a very high powered antenna only has a range of a couple miles. You combine that with a directional antenna, and you can be almost certain no one is listening in.

    • by MobyDisk ( 75490 ) on Thursday May 07, 2009 @03:05PM (#27864789) Homepage

      There's a way around that. If you place another material between the transmitter and the receiver, so that there is a path with no oxygen on it, then there will be very little signal degradation. I recommend something like a thin strip of aluminum or copper, insulated with some non-conductive material (which can also act as a ground between the transmitter and receiver).

      • You mean like... an antenna? :)
      • by et764 ( 837202 )
        If the problem is the oxygen, clearly we need to produce a vacuum between the transmitter and the receiver. I propose a long cylinder of some rigid material, with a smaller cylinder bored out through the middle. Once this long pipe, or "tube," if you will, is connected to the transmitter and receiver, you could suck the air out of the inside of the tube and extend the wireless range. Several such transmitting and listening stations could be combined to form a series of tubes.
    • by adolf ( 21054 ) <> on Thursday May 07, 2009 @03:42PM (#27865427) Journal

      Oh, no. It's far worse than that: It hardly works at all.

      At work, we recently tried, and failed, to properly align a 58GHz wireless gigabit link. Looked like a good installation; clear Fresnel zone, no obviously destructive reflective surfaces, good mounting at one end (we substantially improved the mount at the other). The hardware looked good (made by Gigalink, now Proxim). Very short range - literally, across the street, which (since the radios were made for short haul) was right near the middle of the specifications on the radios. Simple antenna; looked like it was just a feedhorn covered by a radome.

      As far as I can tell, it's nearly impossible to properly align these things. The wavelength is so bloody short that a misalignment of less than 1MM seems to fuck up the whole works. And it's not sufficient to just have the antennas pointed toward eachother; they have to be aligned on exactly parallel planes.

      So anyway, we'd align it. And then it'd get cold out. And then it wouldn't work. Presumably, the buildings and steel mounts change shape sufficiently with the difference in temperature to just ruin everything.

      Several more service calls later, and we'd given up on it.

      I'm not exactly unskilled at these sorts of things. Back in the day, I used to install Primestar. I got good enough at alignment that I could set a pole in concrete, good and plumb. I'd pre-set the elevation and and the polarity of the LNB. After having a glance at my compass, I'd just put the dish on the pole and tighten it down, and then go on inside the house without ever checking the satellite meter. Chances were good that by the time I got inside, the receiver was all sync'd up and ready to go, with good RSSI values...and with no adjustment needed.

      This 58GHz shit, at least as implemented by Gigalink, though: What a fucking abomination. If what WiGig proposes is anything similar in terms of pain, I can easily wait the rest of my life without it and never, ever miss it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by drmofe ( 523606 )
        You must be incompetent. I have a 60GHz Bridgewave unit working in my network with 100% uptime over 18 months at 100Mbps. Alignment is not easy - you are trying to get two 1 degree beamwidths lined up, so you do need to know what you are doing. In my case, the alignment is over 800m, it took 30 minutes to dial it in and once locked down, performance is flawless. Don't try operating one of these in a high rainfall environment though, the absorption will kill performance over anything but very short range
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          Indeed. I am able to line up my ~300THz link by eye. It prevents my garage door crushing people.
        • by adolf ( 21054 )

          I do know what I'm doing.

          The people who installed it originally, apparently, also knew what they were doing. The folks who followed up my failed efforts, who came from two states away at the behest of Proxim, I'd guess they probably knew what they were doing too.

          We all failed. Therefore, by your logic, we're all just well-qualified morons.

          Glad your link works well for you. But please don't assume that your good experience is universal, because it simply is not.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by drmofe ( 523606 )
            "Competence" = "practised by a certified engineer". We did extensive testing before lighting the link up. We even threw a faulty unit back at Bridgewave due to a fault in a $1.70 part (in a $40K unit) that our testing picked up. (Hey, we still managed to line it up when the voltmeter was reading 0.3V instead of 3.3V) The point is that you probably had a duff unit, but also that engineering is more than just point and click - it also involves selecting, testing and verifying that your equipment is doing s
            • by adolf ( 21054 ) <> on Friday May 08, 2009 @02:26AM (#27872923) Journal

              Uh-huh. Thanks, Captain Obvious.

              Wake me up after you've either failed similarly, or found something that I've done incompetently. K?

              Your inane suffrage from the typical alpha-geek doctrine which prescribes that the first thing to do when told of the failure of others is best countered with the assertion that operator is at least incompetent is, at best, a positively useless behavioral pattern.

              You didn't get the whole story, anyway - I was pissing and moaning on Slashdot, not trying to write a fucking novel.

              Here's the sequence of events:

              1. Customer hires Company A to install several Gigalink spans. Company A is certified to do so. Links all work at gigabit speeds with low latency and no significant packet loss. Everything works fine for several months.
              2. It gets cold out.
              3. 2 of 3 links stop working most of the time, especially at night, unless it's warm out.
              4. Company A turns out to be clueless and unhelpful, despite their paper "competence."
              5. Customer asks Company B, who they've used for radio work for tens of years, including other WWAN projects, if they can help.
              6. Company B (that's us, by the way) says "Sure, we'll give it a shot. No promises."
              7. Try. Realigning appears to succeed.
              8. Fail. Cold out again.
              9. Try again when it is cold out, like -5F. Replace non-penetrating roof mount on bouncy snow-covered roof at one end of link with 3" sch. 80 pipe securely fastened to solid brick wall of elevator house on roof. Appear to succeed.
              10. Fail. After a couple of heat cycles, things don't work anymore. Just like before.
              11. Try. Let's line this thing up right, once and for all. Inspect radio's hardware for signs that thermal expansion might be somehow altering the alignment in a meaningful way, and grasp at all other available straws. Inspect other buildings for possible interference sources. Concoct and shoot down different scenarios including ice formation from flue gas condensation to power issues when furnace is running extensively. Find nothing.
              12. Fail.
              13. Customer calls manufacturer. Manufacturer suggests Company C to align things better.
              14. Company C tries. Spends all day. Moves the pipe mount up as high as possible on wall. Manages insignificantly improved peak numbers vs. what we were getting.
              15. Company C goes back to Chicago.
              16. Company C fails. As soon as it gets cold out, link stops working.
              17. Customer calls manufacturer. Manufacturer says "OK, send a pair of them to us and we'll test it here."
              18. We install a temporary 5.8GHz link (at substantially lower speed) for Customer to use in the interim.
              19. Customer sends a pair of Gigalink units back to Manufacturer.
              20. Manufacturer calls customer. Says units work fine in their lab without any particular difficulty and are performing to specification.
              21. ??? (nothing's budged since then, 5.8GHz link is still working fine, remaining 2 installed Gigalink spans also working fine now that the weather is nice and warm)
              22. I conclude that 60GHz-ish stuff doesn't fucking work. It may be counter to a world of differing opinion, but this one is mine.

              So, Oh Wise and Competent One, please tell me where I've gone wrong, other than the fact that I accepted the job to begin with. I beg this of you. Show me the error of my ways, oh great and powerful -- oops, I meant "competent" -- Oz!

              Thanks! (And I promise not to look behind the curtain.)

              • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

                by drmofe ( 523606 )
                Sure. Step 6 is where you went wrong. And your conclusion at step 22 is incorrect. And if you continue to work in areas where you aren't certified, you will continue to be wrong. No charge for the diagnosis.
              • Whoosh, here let me help you out...I got out of this, its obvious to all but you it seems, that the proxim units have way too narrow a feed. In a nutshell, Bridgewave works, Proxim don't, 60Ghz has nothing to do with the failure. The other thing I get out of this is that you do NOT know what you are doing or you would have figured this out already.
                • by adolf ( 21054 )

                  The other thing I get out of this is that you do NOT know what you are doing or you would have figured this out already.

                  How? Through osmosis? Paper certificates? Which part of Proxim certification includes the bit about that says "our product DOESN'T FUCKING WORK"?

      • Sounds to me like you could have used a different antenna with a wider beam for your short haul application. Or better mounts. By the way, the parallel plane thing is nonsense - the polarization makes the signal drop off as the cosine of the angle, so a 10 degree misalignment will give about 1dB of loss. [Disclaimer: Where I work [], 60 GHz is the lowest frequency we use. 700 GHz is the high end of our operating range.]
        • by adolf ( 21054 )

          It was an integrated unit: radio, feedhorn, antenna, and enough fancy-welded aluminum hardware to mount to a pipe, with power, fiber, and Cat 5 on industrial weatherproof connectors on the bottom. The pipe itself was hot-dipped 3" schedule 80 steel, secured to an old-school 3-bricks-thick wall with some very heavy steel hardware from Andrew, and was probably the most overbuilt thing in the entire building.

          10 degrees would've meant the whole world to these things -- think the difference between "ticking alo

    • Roger that. This fact has been known in microwave circles for decades, if not longer. For a classic absorption curve see: [] Note where 60 GHz lies on the oxygen absorption curve. Though I have not worked in the area for a while, I presume that by now it is a lot easier to make transistors, amplifiers, receivers, etc at 60 GHz?
    • by curunir ( 98273 ) *

      Almost useless isn't useless.

      Something like this has the ability to replace wires in situations where bandwidth is important and range isn't. As mentioned in the summary, A/V stuff seems like a prime candidate. Home theaters in the future may end up being as simple as plugging in a power cord for each piece of equipment and then configuring the system in software. No more worrying about how many HDMI ports a TV has, how to run speaker wire from the receiver to the speakers and other similar situations where

    • I remember a fellow worker back in 1984 saying that 60GHz was used for military satellite to satellite communications. Why not use another Amateur Radio band at 76 to 81GHz.

    • Oxygen absorption in the 60 GHz band is 10-15db per km. Not a big issue for typical links of up to a few hundred meters. This reduces the chances of interference and improves frequency reuse which is important in an unlicensed band. In fact, it is the reason this band was designated as unlicensed in the first place!

  • WiGigroup? (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I've been to that meeting and took a picture of the WiGig steering committee. [] Good times.

  • A) Will it cook an egg?
    B) Will it make me Sterile?
    C) Will it be short range?

  • "80% done?" (Score:5, Funny)

    by PolygamousRanchKid ( 1290638 ) on Thursday May 07, 2009 @03:00PM (#27864683)

    The Wireless Gigabit (WiGig) spec is apparently 80 percent done and, since it is aimed at . . .

    . . . Duke Nukem Forever players, it will never see the light of day.

  • Good luck with that (Score:2, Informative)

    by bzzfzz ( 1542813 )
    Great if you don't want to go more than a few feet. The problems with walls, floors, and roofs, bad enough for WiFi at 2.4Ghz, are far more serious in the higher bands. Practical in-home, wireless HDTV video distribution will remain elusive for years. It's not just a matter of bandwidth. The performance of the network has to be consistent regardless of whether someone opens a door or stands in the hallway or you drop frames. And it has to be able to actually achieve HDTV rates consistently in most home
    • by Kohath ( 38547 )

      MIMO schemes are somewhat resilient to the problem with someone standing in the signal path.

      Anyway, this seems to be aimed at allowing your PS3 or your laptop to display on the wall-mounted flat-screen 8 feet away without running a cable. I think they had room-to-room transmission in mind only with directional antennas.

  • by Bruce Perens ( 3872 ) * <> on Thursday May 07, 2009 @03:08PM (#27864825) Homepage Journal
    60 GHz is a great frequency for local communications. It is attenuated by passage through the air, in addition to the usual square-law attenuation over distance, and thus your LAN won't be interfering with everyone else's LAN and with long-distance wireless users in the band. Although the ISM band currently used for 802.11b, g, and n is sort of a garbage band, with microwave ovens and so on sharing the frequencies, it has long-range potential (wifi links in the hundreds of miles are possible by line of sight and big dishes) and thus should really be used for what it's suited for.
    • Plus the high-directional antennas for this should be very compact, if I understand it correctly.
    • by Qubit ( 100461 )

      n is sort of a garbage band, with microwave ovens and so on

      For some reason I'm imagining "Garbage Band" as something that Psystar would bundle with their hackintoshes.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      So maybe not full gigabit but there are wireless products that support higher bandwidth links at higher than 802.11 frequencies. For example check out Dragon Wave [] products. With directional antennas and line of sight you can go for miles and get decent bandwidth.

  • Despite the undeniable fact that there are in fact devices that use or are capable of using UWB, it is no more alive than dial-up.
    • What about Wireless USB, which will be coming to mass-market shortly? It's based on UWB. The UWB brand might be dead, but the technology isn't.

  • what about IEEE? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Hopefully this will be rolled into IEEE 802.11 at some point. Otherwise things could become a mess (even if this consortium has major backing).

  • Uber-WiFi? I'll sue your friggin' asses.

  • How long did it take to develop it this far? A good estimate of the time remaining would be four times that long (in man-hours, not calendar time). The general rule is that the last 20% of a job takes 80% of the time.


A committee is a group that keeps the minutes and loses hours. -- Milton Berle