WiGig. It’s a term that sounds like the gig economy has gone virtual. And you all get paid in the rapidly falling “commodity” that is Bitcoin. In fact, WiGig is bringing you the next WiFi standard which promises blazing fast transfer speeds. But with blazing fast speeds comes compromise. Will the compromises in this new WiFi standard leave it useless?
There have been a lot of different revisions and improvements to the original IEEE802.11 (or WiFi if you prefer less of a mouthful) standard. The upcoming WiFi 6 standard (IEEE802.11ax) is capable of maximum data transfer speeds of up to 11 gigabits per second. That’s pretty quick and is about 37 percent higher than the current fastest standard of IEEE802.11ac.
WiGig is a standard set by the Wireless Gigabit Alliance, which comprises some of the largest technology companies. Its upcoming standard is named IEEE802.11ay. WiGig has been around for a while now and uses WiFi signals on the 2.4GHz, 5GHz and soon, the 60GHz bands. It’s this new 60GHz frequency that will bring transmission speeds of between 20 to 40 gigabits per second. It will also have a much longer transmission range of about 500 metres.
But there is a catch.
The new WiGig standard can’t penetrate walls. But it can be reflected around corners using sufficiently reflective material. Because of this, this upcoming standard will see limited usage inside a house. While you can put WiFi repeaters in every room, you really would want to share the bandwidth around multiple devices. Perhaps in a domestic setting, WiGig’s IEEE802.11ay standard would be most useful in a living room where a bunch of devices would share all that bandwidth.
WiFi speeds will continue to improve in the future. What will be interesting is what compromises will come with them. It appears that the WiGig consortium is bringing us really high speeds of up to 40 gigabits per second but the inability to penetrate walls. How will such a standard be used?