Feature Article

November 21, 2012

New Wireless Devices with 60GHz will Surpass 1 Billion Units Annually by 2017

Evolution in technology takes time to implement, but when it happens you wonder how you managed to live without it. That is what 60GHz will do to wireless communications between portable devices. According to WiGig Alliance, the implementation of this spectrum for mobile devices such as tablets will be able to transfer as much as 7 gigabits of data per second. That is comparable to many wired connections, without the tangled mess.

The forecast for the 1 billion units in annual sales is predicted by ABI Research, and with the increase of migration from desktops and laptops to more mobile computing devices, the technology will likely be the best alternative for short to medium range high-speed wireless data transfer.

The Wi-Fi technology in place today uses the radio spectrum from 2.4GHz to 5GHz. This technology has served its purpose, but with the increase of rich media and other data intensive applications and communications, they are very limited as to how much data they can transfer. Additionally, the 60GHz spectrum doesn’t need a license from the government, meaning a network can be designed to support a local area with a reliable delivery method by anyone with the means to set up the network.  

While the technology is promising, it will depend greatly on how device manufacturers implement the unit in portable devices. As of now there is not a clear consensus on adoption and implementation, and if previous technologies are an indication, manufacturers are not always eager to add one more piece of hardware on their device unless they see full and rapid adoption by everyone involved. The fact that this technology has been highly anticipated might help its adoption, but it is not a guarantee.

“We expect a significant amount of consolidation in the market over the next 18 months as the 11ad market starts to take off. In some instances, smaller 60GHz technology focused companies will be swallowed up by the dominant wireless connectivity suppliers, others will be driven out of the market or at least into the margins as 11ad becomes an established technology, but without a push from the big guys the market will fail to gain traction,” said Peter Cooney, wireless connectivity practice director at ABI Research.

The greatest driver for WiGig / 11ad market will be smartphones and the media intensive application used by consumers on these devices. The 11ad market will support data transfers between multiple devices such as TVs and streaming video without the use of external peripheral devices such as a dongle. As an integrated solution the platform is the next logical evolution in wireless high speed wireless data transfer.

Edited by Rachel Ramsey

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