Ultra-high-speed wireless connectivity capable of transferring 15 gigabits of data per second over short distances has taken a significant step toward reality.
A recent decision by an international standards group could help bring this technology to market soon.
To quote: Short-distance 60 gigahertz (GHz) technology could offer many benefits to bandwidth-hungry applications such as high-definition video and high-capacity data storage. The new standard would support extremely fast wireless peer-to-peer connectivity, PC connectivity and High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) cable replacement.
Among the many potential 60 GHz applications are virtually wireless desktop-computer setups and data centers, wireless home DVD systems, in-store kiosks that transfer movies to handheld devices in seconds, and the potential to move gigabytes of photos or video from a camera to a PC almost instantly.
Industry group Ecma International recently announced a worldwide standard for the radio frequency (RF) technology that makes 60 GHz "multi-gigabit" data transfer possible. The specifications for this technology, which involves chips capable of sending RF signals in the 60 GHz range, are expected to be published as an ISO standard in 2009.
"We believe this new standard represents a major step forward," said Joy Laskar, a member of the Ecma 60 GHz standards committee and director of the Georgia Electronic Design Center (GEDC) at Georgia Tech. "Consumers could see products capable of ultra-fast short-range data transfer within two or three years."
He added that multi-gigabit technology could also help enable "viral communications." Viral communications scenarios envision a future of decentralized, ubiquitous, wireless devices that aren't directly connected to a central communications conduit. Instead, they cooperate with one another to both utilize and expand bandwidth and data availability.
GEDC, a microelectronics design center at the Georgia Institute of Technology, has already produced a CMOS chip capable of transmitting 60 GHz digital RF signals. This chip design could speed up commercialization of high-speed short-range wireless applications because CMOS technology is both low cost and low in power consumption.
"Multi-gigabit technology definitely has major promise for new consumer and IT applications," said Darko Kirovski, senior researcher at the Microsoft Research division of the Redmond, Washington, software giant. "Ecma's move on international standardization of 60 GHz frequency range brings us closer to realizing that promise."
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