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What is WiGig, and how is it different from Wi-Fi 6?

By Preciate Gwizi | November 12, 2018 |

greater than 4 minutes

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Wi-Fi is no longer the fastest wireless technology in the market. With the impending release of Wi-Fi 6, we’re reminded that WiGig is currently the fastest wireless technology. The latter is the best match for super-fast speeds over short distances. Also, come 2019, there will be a faster and better version of WiGig.

Meet WiGig and its basic features

In case you’re only familiar with Wi-Fi and have been wondering: “what is WiGig, what are the features of WiGig?”

Read on for answers to most of your questions

Whereas Wi-Fi 6 and other versions of Wi-Fi need 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies to transmit data, WiGig uses 60GHz for wireless data transmission.

Now, what makes WiGig faster? Simple. The 60GHz frequency is not as congested as 2.4GHz or 5GHz. Therefore, more data can be transmitted via 60GHz in one go. This means that WiGig has faster wireless data transfer speeds compared to Wi-Fi connections.

The 802.11ad WiGig is set to have a speed of around 5Gbps. This is super-fast, especially when tallied against Wi-Fi 6’s actual speed which is around 2Gbps. With a new and advanced version of WiGig on the way, the speed can only get faster and the connection better. The 2019 WiGig version is promising speeds of about 10Gbps.

This all sounds good and desirable, but there are some major concerns.

  1. The shorter wavelengths are excellent for the speed of transmission but mean WiGig has a much smaller range.
  2. Through beamforming, the current WiGig version can only support distances of up to 10 meters, according to Wi-Fi Alliance.
  3. Even with beamforming in place, WiGig signals will have troubles going through walls and other physical structures. This is not a problem for Wi-Fi.
  4. If need be, WiGig devices have been equipped to drop their frequencies to those used by Wi-Fi (2.4 and 5GHz). However, when using these frequencies, WiGig’s super-fast speed of transmission is impossible

Understanding WiGig 802.11ad and 802.11ay

The Wireless Gigabit Alliance first announced WiGig in 2009. In 2013, after the Wireless Gigabit Alliance closed, the Wi-Fi Alliance took over to supervise Wi-Fi standards. As a result, Wi-Fi Certified WiGig falls under the jurisprudence of Wi-Fi Alliance just like WPA3 security.

If you would like to know: “what are the features of WiGig?” you’re most probably interested in changing or improving your Wi-Fi. The current and original version of WiGig was released in 2012 and uses 802.11ad standard. Over a range of approximately 10m, this version offers speeds of up to 5Gbps.

In 2019, Wi-Fi Alliance is set to release the new version of WiGig. This newer, faster version will operate using 802.11ay standard. This will offer faster WiGig and be twice as fast covering a distance of up to 100 meters. According to Qualcomm’s Dino Bekis, the new version is expected to be better. However, the challenge of physical barriers will not be solved.

These WiGig standards should not be confused with 802.11ax, used by Wi-Fi 6.

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WiGig Uses

In case you were wondering if WiGig is meant to replace Wi-Fi, the answer is no. The latest version of WiGig comes with some desirable qualities and the fastest speed ever. However, the problem of failure to go through walls and other obstacles removes WiGig from being the number one contender to replace Wi-Fi.

WiGig becomes expensive because to use it, you need the two devices that utilize WiGig to be in the same room and without a barrier between them. Here is a list of some devices that could take advantage of WiGig:

  • You can achieve a wireless connection between a computer and high-resolution VR headset.
  • You can wirelessly stream content from your phone, tablet or computer.
  • Outdoor wireless access points can communicate over WiGig.

How to Get WiGig

WiGig is more advanced than Wi-Fi. Whereas any WiGig-capable device also supports basic Wi-Fi connections like Wi-Fi 6, not every Wi-Fi 6 device includes WiGig technology. It’s easier to think of WiGig as an optional Wi-Fi add-on for those interested in super-fast speeds over short distances. Now that you know what the difference between WiGig and Wi-Fi is, you might want to look for a WiGig connection.

To get WiGig, check out products on the release that advertise WiGig support.

WiGig 802.11ad standard has been out for a while. However, products carrying it have been few and lesser between. Better watch out for devices with the 802.11ay standard to be released in 2019.

Big devices supporting WiGig are “self-contained” currently. For example, your new ASUS ROG phone has a dock that communicates with its built-in adapter via WiGig. After buying a Vive wireless adapter, for it to establish communication with its receiver, it does so via WiGig.

Theoretically, one day, you can buy a WiGig-enabled router and a WiGig-enabled laptop. These devices will provide you with super-fast speeds while in range. However for now, these devices are yet to appear on the market.

Recent Development: According to Qualcomm, Netgear has unlocked the future. There are already a few routers from Netgear that support the 802.11ad WiGig standard. In addition to routers, Netgear also has a couple of laptops that support 802.11ad. Check out the Netgear Nighthawk X10 AD7200 router for example.

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