After many years of waiting, 60 GHz technology looks set to emerge from a niche technology to a mass market solution. The main enabler has been the linking of the WiGig Alliance with the Wi-Fi Alliance and the forthcoming ratification of the 802.11ad standard which will encourage more Wi-Fi IC vendors to add 11ad to future tri-band solutions (i.e., 11n / 11ac / 11ad).
The partnership between Wi-Gig vendor Wilocity and Wi-Fi vendor Qualcomm Atheros to produce tri-band solutions is starting to bear fruit as Dell were the first to announce an ultrabook product with WiGig/802.11ad. “Market growth is expected to be slow for the next 2 years with ultrabooks and peripherals being the initial primary market, driven by the need for ultra-fast data transfer for docking and display applications,” commented Peter Cooney, wireless connectivity practice director. “Media tablets are expected to be the next market to embrace the technology, primarily for media streaming.”
The smartphone will be the long-term driver of WiGig/11ad market growth, dwarfing all others from 2015 onwards. 802.11ad is widely seen as the next step for Wi-Fi, after 11ac. Its use as a smartphone technology will be driven largely by media streaming and data transfer between devices, for example streaming HD video between a smartphone and a flat screen TV. WiGig/11ad use in smartphones will determine its wider acceptance in all other markets, helping to drive adoption in connected home equipment (e.g., TVs) and drive the market from using external solutions (e.g., dongles) to integrated solutions.
“We expect a significant amount of consolidation in the market over the next 18 months as the 11ad market starts to take off,” added Cooney. “In some instances, smaller 60GHz technology focused companies will be swallowed up by the dominant wireless connectivity suppliers, others will be driven out of the market or at least into the margins as 11ad becomes an established technology, but without a push from the big guys the market will fail to gain traction.”
These findings come from a new study titled “60GHz Technology, 11ad Driving Market Growth” which is part of ABI Research’s Wi-Fi Research Service.