What just happened? While there’s plenty of buzz over the speeds 5G will bring, Wi-Fi isn’t being left behind. Chip giant Qualcomm has partnered with testing and certification service company Sporton International to push the FCC to approve 60GHz Wi-Fi based on the 802.11ay protocol.
Back in October, Qualcomm became the first vendor to build chipsets for 802.11ay, which uses the 60GHz band for more than four times the bandwidth of the prior standard and a longer transmission range. It offers increased capacity, minimal latency, and is faster than the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, bringing up to 10Gbps speeds.
October also saw the Wi-Fi alliance simplify the technology's naming system. 802.11n became Wi-Fi 4, 802.11ac is now Wi-Fi 5, and the 802.11ax standard is labeled as Wi-Fi 6. 802.11ay didn’t get a new name.
We’ve already seen 60GHz Wi-Fi in the 802.11ad protocol, which can reach up to 5Gbps within line of sight transmissions, though it’s not exactly popular and remains expensive.
While applications requiring short-range wireless communications such as VR headsets could be the main use of 60GHz Wi-Fi, it’s also targeted at improving high-resolution streaming and IoT devices. Additionally, Facebook has joined forces with Qualcomm to use 60GHz technology in Terragraph: a new wireless system for deploying high-speed internet to dense urban areas.
DigiTimes revealed the partnership between Qualcomm and Sporton, writing that the Taiwan-based company expects "rising demand for analyzing and testing related IC materials and components supporting a wide range of 5G and AIoT [Artificial Intelligence of Things] applications starting the second half of 2019."