Many home and business local area networks (LANs) built around the 802.11n standard are starting to buckle under the strain placed on them by an ever-increasing number of wireless devices clamoring for bandwidth. A new technology known as WiGig is looking to clear the bottleneck by offering transfer rates 10 times that of the fastest 802.11n networks. At its Intel Developer Forum (IDF) 2012 in San Francisco, Intel demonstrated WiGig multigigabit wireless docking technology that has the potential to remove almost all wires trailing to and from a computer.

Operating over the unlicensed 60 GHz frequency band, WiGig is designed to deliver data transfer rates of up to 7 Gbit/s. This will allow it to wirelessly transmit video and audio data from a source to a display or speakers in addition to wireless LAN capabilities. Intel demonstrated just such an application by wirelessly connecting an Ultrabook laptop to an external HDD and then playing a video from the HDD on a monitor connected only over WiGig.

"Even multiple displays can be docked at one time," said Intel Chief Technology Officer Justin Rattner in his keynote last Thursday, adding, “I look forward to the day when docking my Ultrabook or tablet will not even need to be a conscious exercise – it will be as simple as dropping the device anywhere on my desk and having it automatically connect to a display and peripherals, no wires attached.”

WiGig is backwards compatible with 802.11 and will also support beamforming, allowing connectivity over 10 meters (33 ft).

Dr. Ali Sadri, President and Chairman of the Wireless Gigabit (WiGig) Alliance, the not-for-profit standards organization responsible for developing the technology, says that WiGig technology is nearly ready, with chips from a number of WiGig member companies already in production. The WiGig standard is expected to be certified in mid02013, after which Sadri foresees a “real explosion in the number of WiGig devices coming to market.”