Qualcomm To Buy Wireless Gigabit Chip Maker Wilocity – Report

Peter Judge has been involved with tech B2B publishing in the UK for many years, working at Ziff-Davis, ZDNet, IDG and Reed. His main interests are networking security, mobility and cloud

Qualcomm’s possible Wilocity purchase fuels interest in Gigabit Wireless tech

Qualcomm is believed to be in talks to buy Israeli wireless chip maker Wilocity, possibly to get its hans on the WiGig Gigabit wireless technology which the company has pioneered.

The San Diego-based chip giant  is understood to have offered $300 million for Wilocity, according to Reuters, but the companies are hashing out the details of a deal for Qualcomm to swallow the firm, in which it has previously invested. Wilocity designs chips for the 60GHz spectrum, using the WiGig standard, endorsed by the Wi-Fi Alliance, which promises speeds up to 7Gbps between devices including phones and TVs.

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WiGig’s superfast promise

The 2.4GHz and 5GHz spectrum currently used by Wi-Fi could become crowded, and unlicensed 60GHz spectrum could offer an alternative. Connections using the 60GHz band can carry faster speeds, but the signals have a short range and are only suitable for linking devices in the same room.

The WiGig specification can support 7Gbps connections in theory, and has been accepted by the IEEE standard body under the name 802.11ad. It has also agreed for a faster wireless version of USB.

Its inclusion under the IEEE 802.11 umbrella and the Wi-Fi Alliance programmes means that devices using WiGig should be able to fall back to conventional Wi-Fi when they get out of range.

Like all new wireless technologies, however, WiGig is going through an extended gestation, and has yet to make any real appearance in the marketplace. Other contenders such as ultra wideband (USB) have fallen by the wayside, in the meantime.

Qualcomm’s purchase of Wilocity would suggest that the giant chipmaker believes WiGig will make a real appearance in products – but could also mean the timescale is still a way out, and Wilocity needs continued backing.

Wilocity and Qualcomm have not yet commented on the story.

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