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  • Gagandeep Singh

Revolutionizing Connectivity: Exploring WiGig Technology and its Patent Landscape

In 2009, the Wireless Gigabit Alliance announced its intentions to create a new high-speed wireless standard called WiGig that marks a new chapter in the history of wireless communication technologies. It is designed to promote significantly faster speed for wireless network connections and can be considered a novel alternative to Wi-Fi to encourage faster internet speeds. WiGig began as an independent development effort but is now managed and developed by the Wi-Fi Alliance. WiGig has been standardized as the IEEE 802.11ad standard. WiGig is a relatively new wireless technology that operates in the 60 GHz spectrum – versus 2.4 GHz (802.11b, g n) and 5 GHz (802.11n, ac) – which has both more bandwidth and less interference available to it. For bandwidth, depending on the region, it is typically 7 GHz (albeit Europe has 9 GHz and China has 5 GHz). The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has allocated 14 GHz of the spectrum - from 57 GHz to 71 GHz - for unlicensed use.

What is WiGig?

WiGig has been absorbed into the WiFi alliance (done in March 2013), and efforts are being made to create devices having the capabilities of both WiFi and WiGig specifications. The aim of WiGig is to eliminate the need for wired communication between the devices and create an environment, where all the devices are connected to each other all the time ready to share the data in a blink of an eye. WiGig is still in its nascent stage. WiGig includes support for existing WiFi bands. WiGig uses the 60 GHz spectrum to provide speeds up to 7 Gbits/s. It is used to provide a high-speed connection that can be for wireless storage devices and enable a constant connection between two devices at multi-gigabit speeds. WiGig has the potential close to 10 times faster than WiFi, and it might be fast enough to let one transfer the contents of a 25GB Blu-ray disc in less than a minute.

Wi-Fi uses the crowded 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequency bands, and WiGig uses the relatively unused 60GHz spectrum. This enables it to use wider channels than standard Wi-Fi, resulting in significantly faster data rates of up to 8 Gbps. WiGig uses “Beamforming”, a type of Radio Frequency (RF) management in which an access point uses multiple antennas to send out the same signal. Beamforming is considered a subset antenna or Advanced Antenna Systems (AAS). By broadcasting various signals and analyzing the feedback from clients, the wireless LAN infrastructure can adjust the signals it sends out and determine the best path the signal should take in order to reach a client device. In a sense, Beamforming shapes the RF beam as it traverses the physical space of the enterprise. Beamforming efficiently enhances the uplink and downlink SNR performances as well as the overall network capacity. Beamforming is also known as spatial filtering.

This focused broadcast serves to eliminate any interference from nearby devices, as well as to maintain high performance even in the areas where the 60 GHz spectrum might be in heavy use. Multi-band Wi-Fi Certified products will be able to smartly and seamlessly switch between 2.4, 5, and 60 GHz. Beamforming can help improve wireless bandwidth utilization. It can thus improve video streaming, voice quality, and other bandwidth- and latency-sensitive transmissions. As a result, the WiGig device requires line-of-sight between one another for optimal performance.

802.11ad Frame Structure

The 802.11ad Frame consists of three parts preamble, header, and payload. Preamble is a known data pattern which provides time estimation, Automatic Gain Control (AGC), also called Automatic Volume Control (AVC), is a closed-loop feedback regulating circuit in an amplifier or chain of amplifiers, the purpose of which is to maintain suitable signal amplitude at its output, despite variation of the signal amplitude at the input adjustment and channel estimation. The Header contains information useful to decode the rest of the packet i.e. payload, the header carries the modulation and coding scheme of the payload.

Modulation Methods

  • Control modulation using MCS 0 (27.5 Mbps)

  • Single carrier modulation using MCS 1-12 (385 to 4620 Mbps) and MCS 25-31 (693 to 6756.75 Mbps)

  • OFDM modulation using MCS 13-24 (625.6 Mbps to 2503 Mbps).

Present Scenario

Currently, the short-range applications for WiGig are compelling. Screen sharing, Virtual Reality (VR) headsets are examples where WiGig is implemented. Companies like Blu Wireless, Intel, Nitero, Peraso, Qualcomm, and Tensorcom specialize in WiGig semiconductors. Dell is including WiGig in selected laptops and wireless docking stations. Other companies supporting WiGig include router makers Acelink, Netgear, and TPlink. New tri-band wireless routers support 802.11n at 2.4GHz, 802.11ac at 5GHz and 802.11ad at 60GHz. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 802.11ac/ad ready SoC made its way onto cellphone handsets, with tier-2 vendors such as LeTV and announced a WiGig phone based on the chipset at CES in January 2016. The first major handset manufacturer (Google) announced two models (the Pixel and Pixel XL), which is dominated by the iPhone, are based on the Snapdragon 820 chipset. The Wi-Fi Alliance officially listed the devices as being the first Wi-Fi Certified WiGig products. These provide the basis for future interoperability tests and certification. Some of them are Dell Latitude E7450/70, Intel Tri-Band Wireless, Peraso 60GHz USB Adapter Design Kit, Qualcomm technologies 802.11ad Wi-Fi client and router solution (based on the QCA9500 chipset), Socionext 802.11ad Reference Adapter, Netgear R9000 - Nighthawk X10 - AD7200 Smart WiFi Router, Qualcomm Atheros QCA9984 + QCA9500 802.11ad chipset, CPU: Qualcomm IPQ8065 @1.7GHz Dual Core Internet Processor, WLAN: Qualcomm Atheros QCA9984 (2.4GHz) + QCA9984 (5GHz) + QCA6320 (60GHz MAC/BB) + QCA6310 (60GHz RF transceiver), TP-LINK AD7200 (Talon) - AD7200 Multi-band Wi-Fi Router Up to 4600Mbps (60GHz), 1733Mbps (5GHz) and 800Mbps (2.4GHz), AC2600 4x4 Qualcomm MU-MIMO with single-stream 802.11ad radio, Qualcomm @1.4GHz Dual Core Internet Processor, 2x USB 3.0 ports, Qualcomm IPQ8064 combined with QCA9500 802.11ad chipset, TP-Link Router[14], ASUS ZenFone 4 Pro [15], Acer TravelMate P658. 802.11ad is also supported by at least a few chipsets by Broadcom (BCM20130 - 802.11ad SoC and BCM20138 802.11ad RFIC) and by Qualcomm Atheros (QCA9500 - 802.11ad chipset 802.11ad 60GHz (4.6Gbps PHY), QCA6300 – 802.11ad chipset series (Wilocity Wil6300), QCA6310 (60GHz RF transceiver), QCA6320 (60GHz MAC/BB), QCA6335 (60GHz MAC/BB) + QCA6310 (RFIC)

Applications - WiGig

• Wireless docking between devices like smartphones, laptops, projectors, and tablets • Simultaneous streaming of multiple, ultra-high definition videos and movies • More immersive gaming augmented reality and virtual reality experiences • Fast download of HD movies • Convenient public kiosk services • Easier handling of bandwidth-intensive applications in the enterprise [11] There are standards that may compete or overlap with the developing standard. WirelessHD, WiMax, Wireless Home Digital Interface (WHDi) and Wi-Fi standards like 802.11ad (similar to 5G), 802.11ac similar to LTE-Advanced and 802.11n (similar to LTE) are strong competitors to WiGig. [6]

Future Potential

WiGig has great potential in the development of all-wireless environments. WiGig is a wireless standard that can handle all of the communication needs. Conference room’s users may want to connect to projectors, the office LAN and each other; WiGig eliminates the need for cables and different types of connectors. WiGig has the bandwidth to handle all of the communication tasks simultaneously. WiGig’s speed and low latency make it be used as a dependable wireless replacement for high-fidelity wired connections like HDMI. Its unique attributes also make it well suited to connecting virtual reality and augmented reality equipment, which currently relies on restrictive wires. Multimedia streaming, gaming, and networking applications will also benefit. It’s predicted that around half of the smartphones shipped in 2021 will feature WiGig connectivity. Privacy: WiGig is an attractive option for privacy-concerned issues as it offers exceptional bandwidth using signals that can't easily escape the building. Drawback: The downside of operating at such a high frequency is that the transmission distances are shorter and the waveforms lack the power to penetrate walls and other moderately dense materials. WiGig’s range is typically limited to around 30 feet (9 meters) that is less.

Seminal WiGig Patents

1. Application layer FEC framework for WiGig (US8839078B2) Current Assignee: Samsung Electronics Co Ltd. It relates to reliable data transmission over wireless connections and, more specifically, to a method and an apparatus for implementing a Forward Error Correction (FEC) framework at the application layer for communication over a Wireless Gigabit Alliance (WiGig) link. The Wireless Gigabit Alliance specification (WiGig) is directed to a multi-gigabit speed wireless communications technology. As such, WiGig enables high-performance wireless data, display, and audio applications that supplement the capabilities of today's wireless Local Area Network (LAN) devices. However, the WiGig specification does not allow the use of an Automatic Repeat Request (ARQ) scheme during the broadcast/Multicast transmission. In time-sensitive applications (e.g. multimedia, gaming, and so forth), ARQ is not the most efficient error control scheme, especially when the channel suffers long outages and high packet loss rate caused by blockage and a relatively slow beamforming algorithm. In the absence of the ARQ feedback, the Physical Layer Forward Error Correcting (PHY FEC) codes cannot provide enough protection to achieve low packet loss rate (approximately 10−5). As such, it is necessary to have a second FEC scheme to reduce the packet loss rate.

A method for performing forward error correction in a wireless communication device in a wireless communication network is provided. The method includes transmitting Application Layer Forward Error Correction (AL-FEC) capability information during a capabilities exchange. A set of source packets are reshaped to k equal-sized source symbols. Systematic packets for the source symbols and at least one parity packet is encoded using a Single Parity Check (SPC) AL-FEC code on the k source symbols. A header of each encoded packet includes a parity packet indicator. The encoded packets are processed in a Media Access Control (MAC) layer and a Physical (PHY) layer for transmission. 2 Automatic antenna sector-level sweep in an IEEE 802.11ad system (US9716537) Current Assignee: Amd Far East Ltd Advanced Micro Devices Inc. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 802.11ad standard, also known as WiGig, provides up to approximately 7 Gigabits per second data rate over the 60 GHz frequency band for consumer applications such as wireless transmission of high-definition video. Wireless communication devices that operate within Extremely High Frequency (EHF) bands, such as the 60 GHz frequency band, are able to transmit and receive signals using relatively small antennas. EHF devices typically incorporate beamforming technology in order to reduce the impact of atmospheric attenuation and boost communication range.

In both a Transmit Sector Sweep (TXSS) and a Receive Sector Sweep (RXSS), the wireless station must switch its antenna configuration multiple times at known timing boundaries, where the switching occurs during test frame transmission for a TXSS and during test frame reception for an RXSS. The goal of the Sector-Level Sweep (SLS) phase is to identify and select an antenna configuration that allows the wireless stations to communicate at a threshold Physical layer (PHY) rate. The timing between antenna configuration switches during an SLS, as described in the IEEE 802.11ad specification, can be as short as 1 microsecond (us). Here techniques for performing automatic antenna sector-level sweep switching are described. One embodiment detail about an apparatus comprising of a look-up table for storing a set of antenna configuration entries and an SLS controller implemented in hardware that is communicatively coupled to the Lookup Table (LUT). The SLS controller operates to switch between different antenna configuration entries in the set of antenna configuration entries stored in the lookup table in response a set of one or more signals, including a signal from a timing source, and to periodically change the configuration of the set of one or more antennas. Another embodiment, the apparatus may adjust a timing source for triggering antenna configurations changes based on whether the SLS operation is a TXSS or an RXSS. For both the TXSS and RXSS operations, the apparatus maintains a local TSF timer that is synchronized with one or more TSF timers on remote devices. Based on the local TSF timer, the apparatus may determine designated switch times for changing antenna configurations during an SLS operation. Specifically, the apparatus may change the antenna configuration before the designated switch time if a clear channel assessment indicates that a channel over which the apparatus and the transmitting device are communicating is clear. This approach is capable to tolerate time differences between TSF timers such that the TSF timers do not need to be perfectly synchronized. 3. Fast indirect antenna control (US9450620B1) Current Assignee: Amd Far East Ltd Advanced Micro Devices Inc. It relates to multi-gigabit speed Radio Frequency (RF) communications, particularly, to fast indirect antenna control in wireless communications devices that communicate wirelessly over a Millimeter Wave (mm-wave) RF band such as, for example, the 60 GigaHertz (GHz) frequency band.

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 802.11ad standard, also known as WiGig, provides up to approximately 7 Gigabits per second data rate over the 60 GHz frequency band for consumer applications such as wireless transmission of high-definition video. Here a digital interface and control module and a multi-function digital bus for use in a wireless radio frequency receiver, transmitter, or transceiver are described that communicates over a millimeter-wave band at multi-gigabit speeds. The control module provides a low power, low cost, small form factor, and low pin-count solution for high-speed control of a multi-gigabit radio frequency circuitry. The control module has the potential to be used to steer an antenna array for beamforming including selecting different antennas and different phases in compliance with IEEE 802.11ad/WiGig specifications. 4. Adaptive WiGig equalizer (US9231792B1) Current Assignee: Amd Far East Ltd. Advanced Micro Devices Inc. Here an adaptive equalization system and operating method are disclosed, which adapts which equalizer is used based on detected conditions. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 802.11ad standard, also known as WiGig, promises up to approximately 7 Gigabits per second data rate over the 60 GHz frequency band for consumer applications such as wireless transmission of high-definition video. In digital wireless communications systems, the operation takes place in or near the 60 GHz frequency band. Multipath propagation results in a form of signal distortion referred to as Inter-Symbol Interference (ISI), where one transmitted symbol interferes with subsequently transmitted symbols.

If ISI is unaddressed, it may lead to a high bit error rate in the receiver process and prevent the signal from being correctly decoded. To mitigate the negative effects of ISI, the receiving device typically employs an equalizer that reverses the distortion, thereby flattening the channel frequency response. Frequency Domain Equalizers (FDEs) are a class of equalizers that operate in the frequency domain when correcting distortion. These equalizers are generally more effective at correcting distortion than equalizers that operate in the time domain. However, when operating on WiGig or other high-frequency signals, FDEs typically consume more power than other classes of equalizers. In some cases, an FDE may not yield significant improvements over equalizers that operate in the time domain, especially where signal distortion is relatively low. An alternative to an FDE is a Decision Feedback Equalizer (DFE). A DFE uses feedback from previous symbol decisions to eliminate ISI on an incoming signal. A DFE generally requires less power than an FDE but also has inferior performance in terms of distortion correction. The DFE's inferior performance may result in relatively high bit error rates and incorrect decoding when the received signal is highly distorted. Therefore, a DFE may not be suitable for some applications.

5. Beamforming protocol for wireless communications (US9094071B2) Current Assignee: Avago Technologies General IP Singapore Pte Ltd. It relates to the communication device comprised of an antenna, a radio circuitry, coupled to the antenna, which is operative to transmit a first signal to establish Beamforming during channel time allocation to at least one additional communication device via antenna using a Beamforming training protocol.

Communication device refers to the any of router which is comprised of antenna, radio circuitry which is coupled with antenna and is used to form a Beamforming signal to connect to at least one communication device, radio circuitry further includes Antenna Weight Vector (AWV) circuitry, that is operative to calculate an AWV. The first signal is sent with transmitting functionality to establish a configuration of the antenna, based on that second signal is sent that indicates the Beamforming capability that includes a receive functionality. The configuration of the antenna is modified based on AWV. 6. Beamforming system and method (US8224387B2) Current Assignee: Airbus Defence and Space Ltd. It relates to a Beamforming system that can be used for both receive and transmit Beamforming. A system receives samples of several signals, each sample containing a band of frequencies and routes all sampled signals associated with the same Beam formed frequency band.

A Beamforming system comprised of an input switch configured to receive samples of a number of signals associated with a plurality of beam-formed frequency bands, a selection stage is used to select a predetermined number of routed sampled signals according to predetermined criteria. The weighting stage is configured to apply weighting coefficients to the selected signals. An accumulator is configured to accumulate the weighted signals to form a composite signal. A switch arrangement is configured to select a composite signal and route the composite signal.


In conclusion, WiGig technology stands as a remarkable leap forward in the ever-evolving landscape of wireless communication. Its ability to transmit data at gigabit speeds over short distances has the potential to transform how we connect and interact with our devices, whether it's supercharging our home networks or revolutionizing the way we stream, share, and communicate.

While WiGig's promise is evident, it's equally important to recognize the intellectual property landscape that underpins its development. Patents play a pivotal role in safeguarding innovation, and the patent landscape surrounding WiGig is a testament to the incredible efforts invested in its advancement. These patents not only protect the inventive ideas but also provide a roadmap for others to build upon, fostering a cycle of continuous innovation in the field of high-speed wireless technology.

As WiGig continues to evolve, it is clear that it holds the potential to drive transformative changes across industries, from entertainment and gaming to healthcare and beyond. The journey of WiGig is a testament to human ingenuity, and as technology enthusiasts, we can eagerly anticipate the exciting developments it will bring in the years to come.

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