Now that the Wi-Fi Alliance will be sharing technology specifications with the Wireless Gigabit Alliance's proposed 60GHz wireless spectrum, we all just got a lot closer to 7Gbps wireless downloads. That's wonderful.

WiGig, as it's more commonly called, has been pushing for the next major wireless specification to be on its empty 60GHz spectrum for months. Today's announcement greatly increases the likelihood that we'll be seeing multi-gigabit in-room downloads in the not too distant future. It's terribly surprising, given the amount of overlap between WiGig and Wi-Fi Alliance's member companies. And WiGig had already written procedures for handing off to 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi bands into its spec, pre-empting most compatibility concerns. But it's still an encouraging look at the future of wireless networking.

Wi-Fi Alliance(R) and WiGig(TM) Alliance to Cooperate on Expansion of Wi-Fi Technologies

Liaison agreement will enable technology sharing for program development

AUSTIN, Texas and TOKYO, May 10 /PRNewswire/ — The Wi-Fi Alliance and the Wireless Gigabit Alliance (WiGig Alliance) today announced a cooperation agreement for multi-gigabit wireless networking. The Wi-Fi Alliance and the WiGig Alliance will share technology specifications for the development of a next-generation Wi-Fi Alliance certification program supporting Wi-Fi® operation in the 60 GHz frequency band. This agreement further encourages the development of products supporting 60 GHz technology to expand existing Wi-Fi capabilities.

Device connectivity in the 60 GHz band will complement the current family of Wi-Fi technologies. Targeted primarily for applications that require gigabit speeds, 60 GHz products are expected to be used in a wide range of high-performance devices. A significant portion, if not all, of these devices are expected to also support traditional Wi-Fi networking in the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands.

"60 GHz device connectivity will be an exciting enhancement to the capabilities of today's Wi-Fi technologies. It will expand the utility of Wi-Fi, used by hundreds of millions of people every day," said Wi-Fi Alliance chief executive officer Edgar Figueroa. "From its inception, the WiGig specification was designed to work on a wide variety of devices, making it a compelling input as we begin to define our certification program for 60 GHz wireless."

"Now that our specification is complete and published, it's time to set our sights on driving a great user experience through interoperability and certification," said Dr. Ali Sadri, president and chairman of the WiGig Alliance. "We are happy to work with the Wi-Fi Alliance to extend multi-gigabit capabilities to the Wi-Fi technology portfolio."

The WiGig Alliance, which shares many member companies in common with the Wi-Fi Alliance, was formed to unify the next generation of multi-gigabit wireless products by encouraging the adoption and widespread use of 60 GHz wireless technology worldwide.

The WiGig specification defines protocols to deliver data transfer rates measured in gigabits rather than megabits and supports a new range of applications and usages. The specification also defines procedures to enable WiGig compliant devices to hand over sessions to operate in the 2.4 or 5 GHz band. It is expected that a new class of tri-band Wi-Fi CERTIFIED™ devices will offer multi-gigabit wireless speeds while helping to ensure backward compatibility.

"There is no question that this agreement will enable 60 GHz technology to form an important part of the high-performance future for wireless networking," said Phil Solis, practice director for Wireless Connectivity at ABI Research. "By cooperating, the groups have set a course for interoperability and backward compatibility that will accelerate the adoption and usefulness of multi-gigabit wireless networking."

For more information, visit www.wi-fi.org and www.wigig.org.