The world of wireless communications is generally dominated by a few companies, with some of them being hardware suppliers and others being chip suppliers.
Qualcomm, Broadcom and Marvell are some of the leading chip suppliers of wireless technologies for both the home and smartphones while Samsung, Cisco, Apple and Dell provide much of the hardware for consumers and enterprise. Recently, Qualcomm acquired a company called Wilocity which has been producing 60 GHz (as opposed to 5 or 2.4 GHz) frequency Wi-Fi systems. This 60 GHz technology is known as WiGig and is part of the Wi-Fi standard with the 802.11ad name. If you look up 802.11ad, in fact, you will see that 60 GHz Wi-Fi is marketed as WiGig (there is a WiGig alliance) which Samsung is even a part of and the alliance has existed since 2009.
WiGig is an interesting technology because it allows for much higher bandwidth (in the Gigabits per second) over shorter areas. So, you can put your phone down on a desk and WiGig will enable you to wirelessly stream/connect your phone to your monitor and keyboard so that you can dock it wirelessly. In fact, Wilocity has already partnered with Cisco to introduce WiGig into their enterprise products and with Dell to integrate WiGig into their laptops. WiGig is also on its way to consumer product adoption as Qualcomm, who acquired Wilocity, has already announced that their Snapdragon 810 processor will have WiGig built in. And if anything, there’s a very high chance that Samsung’s mobile products next year will be using a Snapdragon 810 with Qualcomm/Wilocity’s WiGig 802.11 Wi-Fi technology.
Today’s announcement is about the fact that Samsung has developed their own 802.11ad solution and are pushing it as such, they claim to have made vast improvements to wireless communications through their implementation. The WiGig 60 GHz WiGig standard has been finalized since 2012 and was initiated in 2009 and has not changed wildly since, which makes Samsung’s announcement seem a bit overblown. Samsung has not really announced anything about WiGig or any development of WiGig publicly until today, years after WiGig had been introduced so they actually seem a bit behind the curve. It will be interesting to see which Samsung products will have WiGig and whether they’ve developed their own chipset or are simply utilizing one from Qualcomm or someone else.
Also, in terms of WiGig the problem with 802.11ad is that it is very susceptible to interference from dense objects like couches and people. So, this technology is primarily used for ‘line-of-sight’ data transfers and wireless connectivity. But it does significantly reduce the amount of interference between different wireless access points as 802.11ad will rarely leave the bounds of the room it is installed in.