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WiGig is great, but it won’t replace your Wi-Fi network

You might think at first glance that WiGig is better than Wi-Fi, and that given the choice between the two you’d obviously want the one with the word “gig” in the name. It sounds faster, because it is. However, WiGig has limitations that restrict it to more niche uses than traditional Wi-Fi.

The Wi-Fi Alliance created a separate, unique logo for WiGig to avoid confusion between the standards.

WiGig is the new brand established by the Wi-Fi alliance for the 802.11ad standard. It operates in the unlicensed 60GHz frequency range and promises data transmission rates up to 7Gbps. Real-world throughput will likely be slower, but theoretically—using different modulation and beam-forming techniques—WiGig could yield speeds of up to 25Gbps. That gives a whole new meaning to the term “blazing fast.”

How fast is WiGig? According to Wilocity—a company that manufactures 60GHZ chips used for WiGig—it can transfer 1000 photos between notebooks in five seconds. Uploading a two-minute HD video recording from a camcorder takes about a minute on a standard 802.11n Wi-Fi network, but would take a mere three seconds over WiGig. Downloading a 1080p HD movie would take three minutes instead of the hour it consumes over 802.11n.

Of course, 802.11n is no longer the king of the hill for Wi-Fi networks. We now have the nascent 802.11ac standard, which is significantly faster than 802.11n, and yet still much, much slower than the 802.11ad WiGig technology. The 802.11ac standard was dubbed “Gigabit Wi-Fi,” and is theoretically capable of gigabit-per-second transmission, but the real-world speed achieved from a single device is generally about half that (500Mbps).

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