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How WiGig Works

        Tech | Connectivity

WiGig's Promising Potential
If WiGig works as promised, many set top boxes will swap wires for WiGig to distribute their content among various media devices.
If WiGig works as promised, many set top boxes will swap wires for WiGig to distribute their content among various media devices.
Courtesy of Western Digital

Although WiGig's specifications aren't final, we do know quite a bit about how WiGig will work. And we do have a good idea of how manufacturers plan to exploit WiGig for their products.

WiGig could bring together a huge range of computing, entertainment and communications devices, including stereos, PCs, PDAs and much more. It may ease the delivery of video-on-demand and archived video through TVs, computers and other video-related products, too. WiGig may also be what many consumers need for gaming on HDTV or for zipping video from a wireless-capable camcorder to a TV or computer.

WiGig-capable products will operate at a frequency of 60GHz, an unlicensed band that's mostly unused by current technologies. The Alliance chose this band due to its availability and its potential for extremely fast data transfer rates. WiGig also has low latency, meaning it works with minimal delays, and won't cause lags and blips in your HD video or online games.

Signals in this band don't travel very far. Oxygen readily absorbs 60GHz signals and neutralizes them within a short distance of their source. Walls further restrict 60GHz signals. Both of these factors drastically limit WiGig's range. That means WiGig will be limited to a maximum of roughly 30 feet (about 9.1 meters), and beyond 15 feet (4.6 meters) or so there will be significant decreases in performance. That's actually a blessing for the kind of products that will be using WiGig, because it means your network won't conflict with your neighbor's or even the other WiGig setups you're using in your own home.

Of course, organizations introduce new technology standards all the time, only to watch their new high-tech tools die in their infancy due to lack of industry support. WiGig, however, may find a better fate. The standard has massive support from Alliance partners, including major corporate players such as Microsoft, Panasonic, Dell, Nokia and many others.