Tri-band WiFi chips for 7Gbps speed coming from Marvell, Wilocity

Wi-Fi logoOne of the biggest changes ever made to WiFi is coming in the next year with a new standard supporting the 60GHz band, powering much faster transmissions than are possible in the existing 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. All that’s needed are some chips, and products to put them in.

Slowly but surely, the chipmakers embracing 60GHz technology are making their plans known. The latest is Marvell, which today announced a partnership with startup Wilocity to make tri-band chips that will use all three bands. That will allow consumer devices to connect to existing WiFi networks while also taking advantage of the super-fast 60GHz band for high-speed data transfer and high-quality media streaming. Under the developing 802.11ad standard, 60GHz transmissions can hit 7Gbps.

Wilocity already has a partnership with Qualcomm Atheros, Qualcomm's networking subsidiary, to build tri-band chips. Those are expected to come out by the end of this year and focus on the PC notebook market—for example a laptop bundled with a remote docking station. The partnership with Marvell won’t result in shipping products until 2013, but Wilocity’s VP of Marketing, Mark Grodzinsky, told us that the Marvell/Wilocity chips will focus on a broader range of products including tablets, Ultrabooks, and phones. The two companies are also targeting access points, residential gateways, and media center devices.

The first tri-band chips will support the existing 802.11n standard for 2.4GHz and 5GHz transmissions, as well as the forthcoming 802.11ad for 60GHz transmissions. Unfortunately, those first chips won’t support 802.11ac, the other forthcoming WiFi standard that will dramatically speed up the 5GHz band.

Eventually, you can expect to see chips supporting 11n, 11ac, and 11ad all in one package. Although some 11ac products are already on the market, both 11ac and 11ad are still awaiting ratification by the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers). Real-world applications of 11ac might move along more quickly than 11ad because it’s based on the familiar 5GHz band. Grodzinsky said he doesn’t expect mass adoption of 60GHz technologies until 2014.

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: Marvell, Wi-Fi

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