Panasonic preps for WiGig era of content exchange

Jan 31, 2012 by Nancy Owano report

(PhysOrg.com) -- Panasonic is working on applications for the new WiGig-technology. WiGig holds out the promise of a time when mobile devices can communicate with each other—in an exchange of videos, photos, and other information-- at multigigabit speeds using the 60 GHz frequency band. Making the rounds of blogs and news sites this week is a video filmed by DigInfo, which shows the Japan-based company’s concept demo of WiGig in action.

The film shows what a day in the life of a car passenger might be with the help of a tablet, WiGig-enabled SD memory card, and automobile computer screen.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

The demo shows a passenger transferring media from the tablet to a display mounted in the passenger seat. An exchange of content also takes place from the car’s computer over to the tablet; the passenger checks out auto information such as readings on tire pressure and battery capacity.

is one of the companies that have been participating in the WiGig Alliance of companies, an alliance making a big push to advocate a wireless gigabit standard and to promote a strong ecosystem of interoperable devices. Panasonic is on the Alliance’s board of directors, along with other big industry names such as Dell, Intel, Cisco, Broadcom, and Microsoft.

The shared understanding among the Alliance companies is that the technology marketplace is no longer just about Internet connectivity but device connectivity, as more consumers own multiple devices and seek fast, efficient data transfers from one device to another. The Alliance is not new; it was formed back in 2009 but observers note that the time appears ripe to turn up the volume in promoting WiGig's commercial growth.

The Alliance has worked on a unified specification for 60 GHz wireless technologies, to make it possible for multi-gigabit wireless connectivity among PCs, handhelds and a range of devices under the umbrella of consumer electronics. A WiGig MAC specification was published in June last year. The standard is in draft stage with the IEEE as 802.11ad. Some technologists prefer to note the limitations as well as benefits to come; the wireless technologies will offer higher data rates than 802.11ac, but at short distances - and where walls, ceilings and other obstructions don't hinder the path. A benefit of operating at 60 GHz is availability.

According to the Alliance, “60 GHz is the ultimate complement to both 2.4 and 5 GHz. The 60 GHz band simply has much more bandwidth available (7-9 GHz of spectrum) vs. 83.5 MHz in the 2.4 GHz band, which enables much higher data rates.”

The organization intends to provide a certification mark, which will show consumers that products have passed interoperability testing. Panasonic meanwhile is in the process of prototyping the WiGig-enabled SD card, which it aims to commercialize for vehicle usage in summer 2013. That seems to mesh with the Alliance prediction that it expects "wide availability" of WiGig-enabled devices in 2013. According to Ars Technica, the spec is still undergoing some fine-tuning at IEEE.

Explore further: Google wireless service could disrupt carriers

More information: wirelessgigabitalliance.org/

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