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First Ultrafast 8Gbps Capable 802.11ad 60GHz WiFi Kit Gets Certified

Tuesday, October 25th, 2016 (8:12 am) - Score 2,022
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After several years’ of development the Wi-Fi Alliance has this week begun to certify the first hardware (routers etc.) to use its final WiGig 802.11ad (60GHz) standard, which can push data rates of up to 8Gbps over a WiFi wireless network. But you need to be within 10 metres for it to work properly.

The IEEE officially approved the new 802.11ad standard all the way back in 2013 (here), although it took a long time to build the hardware and the first unofficial broadband routers to support it (e.g. TP-Link Talon AD7200) didn’t even begin to surface until earlier this year (here).

Using the 60GHz radio spectrum band certainly affords plenty of potential for fast data rates, but the caveat is that transmissions at such high frequencies tend to suffer from very limited range (up to 10 metres for its top speeds) and struggle to penetrate through any even remotely solid surfaces.

Admittedly some of the limits can be overcome by using millimeterWave (mmW) circuit design and wide-coverage beam-forming antennas, but there’s no escaping the fact that high frequency spectrum just isn’t designed for delivering good coverage (short of installing signal boosters in every room).

On the other hand there’s less congestion at 60GHz and WiGig isn’t intended to deliver whole-home coverage, instead it’s focused more on offering a low latency and high-throughput line-of-sight solution for cordless devices that need to move a lot of data (e.g. future VR headsets). We’re still not convinced about the use cases for WiGig, but the expectation is that it will eventually be widely supported.

Phil Solis, Research Director for ABI Research, said:

“Wi-Fi Alliance certification has a strong history of accelerating broad technology adoption across the industry, and we expect 2017 to be a breakout year for WiGig on the heels of Wi-Fi CERTIFIED program availability.

The ecosystem for WiGig spans the mobile, PC, and consumer electronics industries across the consumer, enterprise, and service provider markets. Devices will leverage the brand and ubiquity of Wi-Fi for continued momentum across these industries.”

The first Wi-Fi CERTIFIED WiGig products come from Dell (Latitude™ E7450/70), Intel (Tri-Band Wireless), Peraso (60GHz USB Adapter Reference Design Kit), Qualcomm Technologies (client and router solution based on the QCA9500 chipset) and Socionext (Reference Adapter).

No doubt many more devices will follow, although as usual it’s often best to avoid the first generation of new kit and wait until it has had a chance to mature. Not to mention the fact that right now you can’t actually do anything useful with WiGig unless you have at least two supporting devices that sit in a line-of-sight.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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29 Responses
  1. Avatar chris conder

    Seems a bit overkill when you only have sub megabit feeds through old phone lines… but when fibre comes and copper is recycled we’ll have to be ready won’t we? Will it happen in our lifetimes? Or are we doomed to stay on the old obsolete FTTC feeds that they are still rolling out?

    • Avatar Steve Jones

      Perhaps somebody ought to introduce you to the idea that people use home networks for things like shared storage and media devices, not to mention network printing and scanning. Not everything heads out via the Internet.

    • Avatar nucco

      I’ll happily take this, as my TV, Amp, NAS, and game consoles are all sitting right on top of the router. I have enough power cables as it is, and prefer not to have to add ethernet cables.

      It will probably take a decade before TVs and game consoles that support this spec are available though.

    • Avatar Data Analysis

      “Perhaps somebody ought to introduce you to the idea that people use home networks for things like shared storage and media devices, not to mention network printing and scanning. Not everything heads out via the Internet.”

      I do not know what shared storage you are using but id like some that can read and write at 8Gbps. An SSD will not even manage that.

      On the other and complete opposite, reversed hand if speed when it comes to shared storage is important why you would currently be using most current forms of wifi.

    • Avatar Steve Jones

      @Data Analysis

      That 8 Gbps is a nominal maximum. Nobody is going to expect to see speeds that high in real use, but above 1Gbps might be expected. Even some HDDs can get towards that speed (after all, we have SATA at 6Gbps). Then there are already NAS devices out there for offices which run to 10GBps Ethernet, and this has a habit of trickling down to domestic.

      Even with HDDs, NAS arrays with the appropriate RAID setup can achieve several Gbps sequential throughputs, let alone using SSDs.

      This should be seen for what it is, which is just an evolutionary change. I can imagine something like this being very useful for direct transfer of the sort of very large files that modern video cameras can produce with 4K video. Only the other day, I saw a videographer who wanted a very high speed local transfer where he wanted to wirelessly move 100s of GB without having to wait a long time.

    • Avatar Gordon

      “Even some HDDs can get towards that speed (after all, we have SATA at 6Gbps).”

      Theoretical interface speeds have nothing to do with actual read and write time.

    • Avatar Bob2002

      @Data Analysis

      With common NAS boxes, like FreeNAS and Synology/Xpenology, read speeds are limited by the type and number of disks – so maybe a single mechanical disk has a max read speed of 110MB/s. Writes actually go directly to RAM first and are then written. So yes, even if your NAS only has a couple of disks, it is possible to see 900MB/s writes(maybe your NAS has 8GB of RAM to use for buffering) over a 10Gb network connection(so pretty much saturated) – while also seeing maybe 230MB/s reads(physical disk speed read limitation).

    • Avatar Data Analysis

      900MB from a NAS……. Dream on.
      The number 1 ranked NAS here…
      http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/tools/rankers/nas/view
      and its specs…
      http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/tools/rankers/nas/result/1824-asustor-as7004t?testmethod=3

      Does not even break the 200MB limit.

      NONE of these do…
      http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/tools/charts/nas/view

      Feel free to tell me which NAS and HDDs i need to get 900MB (that is megaBYTES not megabits) out of it????

    • Avatar Steve Jones

      There are NAS devices out there that can exceed 900MBps. If you’ve got very deep pockets, then there are very large enterprise servers from the likes of NetApp (which I used to know well) as well as file headers for block-mode EMC and HDS arrays. Those will support multiple 10Gbps Ethernet and deliver NFS and CIFS at huge rates. However, you won’t find them in a small business, let alone used domestically.

      There are more modest NAS servers that you will find in some small/medium businesses which can reach two or three of hundred MBps. There are some here (and more will surely follow).

      http://www.techspot.com/review/528-nas-10gbe-performance/

      Pretty well every domestic NAS server out there is constrained by using Gigabit Ethernet, but I don’t think it will always be the case.

      In any event, this new WiFi standard is going to be aimed more at breaking the gigabit barrier rather than actually reaching 6Gbps, which is purely theoretical. At the moment, you’ll be lucky to sustain more than about 500Mbps on 5Ghz WiFi, even in pretty near optimal conditions, and often much worse.

    • Avatar Gordon

      8Gbps equates to 1000MB which is no where near what anything in that techspot report was capable of when TRANSFERING files. The closest any test got to that figure was when it came to benchmarking the disks only.

      And those devices were multi Ethernet wired devices. To think or even try to suggest anything wireless will get close to them is deranged.

      I agree with DA, please inform us of a device which is capable of those speeds when file transfering, that includes reading and writing files. Go on any single NAS that can do transfers of 1000MB for both reading and writing files.

      Should be easy to name and point to just one considering both you (or rather just you) and bob seem so confident in your claims.

    • Avatar Data Analysis

      This initial quote was “… people use home networks for things like shared storage and media devices…”

      Suddenly to defend the argument they must be right we have moved on to mid-high tier business class devices. A bit different to people at home with a home network and devices.

    • Avatar Steve Jones

      @Gordon

      And which part of me saying that 8Gbps is a purely theoretical maximum did you miss? From memory, the 5GHz standard is limited to about 1.5Gbps, but the practical limit is perhaps a quarter of that (indeed the benchmark figures for the BT HH6 was questioned on this site as being impossible – and I think that was only in the 600mbps region in optimal conditions).

      Of course a NAS device won’t be able to deliver several hundred gigabyte per second over a single Wifi network for the damned good reason there isn’t a WiFi standard which can support it. However, it’s perfectly possible for a NAS service to support those sort of data rates using a wired interface over multiple WiFi networks. The reason I know this? I’ve seen it done in very large organisations using centralised storage systems (using CIFS)

      @DataAnalysis

      I may have originally mentioned home networks, but I was responding to the point about NAS devices being limited to relatively low speeds when there are now some mid-range systems capable of achieving at least two or three hundred MBPs. I also noted that current home NAS systems are constrained by gigabit Ethernet, but that 10GBps home network servers are certain to appear as the technology filters out. This new WiFi standard is for the future, and I think it’s more about getting WiFi up to the speed of gigabit Ethernet than it is about really trying to hit 8 Gbps speeds.

      I know plenty of people that use wired interfaces onto laptops in order to get acceptable performance from a NAS device (although nobody I know of uses WiFI as the means of connecting a NAS box to their home network, it might become feasible if the WiFi standard could exceed gigabit ethernet. People quite like to avoid using cables.

      So the whole point is that there are plenty of reasons to want to be able to uplift WiFi speeds apart from the Internet.

    • Avatar Data Analysis

      “I may have originally mentioned home networks, but I was responding to the point about NAS devices being limited to relatively low speeds……..”

      No you was not your first post before you mentioned anything to me or engaged in any conversation with me was replying to Chris right here
      http://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2016/10/first-ultrafast-8gbps-capable-802-11ad-60ghz-wifi-kit-gets-certified.html#comment-171204

      and the quote of “people use home networks” shows clearly you were first on about home networks and users and then to try to prove yourself right later in the conversation you use mid-high tier business equipment to try to show you are right.

      PS still waiting on any device that can read, write files and transfer files at 900+MB……. None exist, but feel free to carry on looking to try to settle your nagging concious that you are correct.

      Waiting patiently.

    • Avatar Steve Jones

      @DTMark

      I referenced Netapp, EMC and Hitachi as NAS suppliers, but if you must, try this monster. It’s a Netapp FAS9000, and in a past life I deal with all these enterprise storage suppliers with total storage capacity in the several PB. Not something that you’ll find at home, or even outside a really major data server.

      Netapp were the pioneer of really high throughput and functionality NAS servers (as anybody in the enterprise area could affirm) with things like logical snapshots and WAFL (write anywhere file systems) with their Ontap operating system.

      The FAS 9000 is rated at up to 500,000 IOPs using NFS and can hold up to 1440 drives. Given the default 4K block size of NFS, that equates to 2GB per second. Double that with 8K blocks.

      However, that’s just a start. You can configure these things as a scale-out configuration and have twenty-four of them in a configuration.

      Here’s a thread on a NetApp forum in 2014 with user who hit 900MBps on twin 10Gbe and another who hit 1.3GBps and claims to have seen 3.5GBps using SSDs.

      http://community.netapp.com/t5/Network-Storage-Protocols-Discussions/NFS-performance-on-10Gb-link/td-p/26036

      Personally I had more experience of SAN arrays, and six years ago we were hitting almost 5GBps on a single data warehouse Oracle database using using (quite a lot) of fibre channels.

      This is some outline of the Netapp range.

      http://thepartlycloudyblog.com/netapp-announces-next-gen-hardware-fas2600-fas8200-fas9000-and-more/

      All this fuss when just pointing out LANs were used for a lot more than carrying Internet traffic, and I wasn’t even the one that claimed that 890MBps (although I knew for certain it is done).

    • Avatar Steve Jones

      And just for fun I looked up the enterprise standard benchmark for file servers, SPEC SFS. The latest (2014) version hasn’t been run that often, but IBM ran one which hit 7,821 MBps, but as that’s using file server access over infiniband, maybe not one for the average home office.

      https://www.spec.org/sfs2014/results/res2016q3/sfs2014-20160912-00016.html

      Oracle achieved 3,691MBps using a file server based on a back-end ZFS file system (which bears some resemblance to NetApps WAFL system, it was developed by SUN (which Oracle has owned for several years). NetAppp nearly sued SUN over the development of ZFS for breaching IPRs.

      https://www.spec.org/sfs2014/results/res2016q3/sfs2014-20160825-00015.html

      There are a whole lot more of the earlier SPEC SFS 2008 benchmark standard using CIFS and NFS. They are reported in terms of operations per second. To convert them into MBps would require quite a lot of knowledge of the guts of the benchmark, but it does say that the defaults NFS block size was 8KB, later updated to auto-negotiated but it would be wrong to interpret operations as all 8KB blocks (although numbers approaching half a million a second have been reported).

    • Avatar Gordon

      “@DTMark……..”

      You have obviously gone completely round the twist now. First clearly on about home networks, then altering your argument and now you are responding to people that have said not a single thing in this thread. The biggest concern is its your longest blurb yet and all to someone who has no interest or comment in the story. That is a far bigger issue than any sized network.

    • Avatar Steve Jones

      @Gordon

      No, just a simple mistake. I meant to address @Data Analysis, that’s all.

      As for what I was responding to, my point about home networks remain. Existing 5GHz Wifi standards will limit you (realistically) to around 50Mbps in near optimal circumstances. The new standard might get a user to perhaps 200Mbps when all is said and done, the sort of speed that might be expected from some home small NAS servers as 10Gbps becomes common.

      As for all the other stuff, I was addressing the challenge that @Data Analysis and you (who I suspect is the same person) made in denying that there are any NAS devices out there that can hit 900MBps (not that it was me that made the claim). However, I know full well that there are enterprise NAS servers out there that greatly exceed that. I’m not claiming that they are suitable for home, or even medium sized business. However, what I am quite clearly saying is that in a few years’ time, when this WiFi standard becomes established, there will be home NAS servers out there that will require something better than 5Ghz WiFi for high throughput users. Indeed, existing home NAS servers are constrained by 5GHz WiFi when talking to hosts.

      So far, I’ve provided linked evidence that devices that @Data Analysis and you deny exist when anybody familiar with larger enterprise storage knows does.

      So are you and @Data Analysis going to maintain that there’s no use in domestic networks for a WiFi standard beyond the existing 5Ghz standard?

    • Avatar Data Analysis

      Less waffle, less confusion who you are speaking to and more “home network” devices capable of the speeds claimed would be nice. Not that any follow up is going to have any.

    • Avatar Steve Jones

      @Data Analysis

      I never, ever claimed there were home NAS devices that could support 900MBps (which was never my point – somebody else raised that). Just your assertion that there were no such servers at all rather made me respond.

      However, do you now accept that there are current home NAS devices where potential throughput to wireless clients is limited by what can be achieved in practice on 5Ghz 802.11ac (practically around 50MBps I would say). If so, surely an enhanced standard that could support at least the equivalent of gigabit Ethernet would surely be an advantage (which, of course, can support 1Gbps in each direction simultaneously).

      Which gets me back to my original point. Home users use NAS, media streamers and much else and the existing standard could do with an uplift to improve throughput for some users where it is already a limiting factor.

    • Avatar Gordon

      You claimed in response to Chris in your opening post “people use home networks for things like shared storage and media devices, not to mention network printing and scanning. Not everything heads out via the Internet.”

      If you are not talking about this tech then why even respond. No shock still no home network shared storage solution capable of the new wifi speeds has been mentioned.

    • Avatar Steve Jones

      @Gordon

      Of course there are no home WiFi devices available for the new standard. Have you not read the article? It says that the first devices are only just now being certified. It takes several years for new standards to be deployed onto domestic equipment. It took a few years before 5GHz WiFi to become a virtually standard on all but the lowest end smartphones, laptops and routers.

      IEEE 802.11ad is taking significantly longer, as it operates on a much higher part of the spectrum and it’s short range makes it unsuited to a lot of roving use, but it should become an acceptable alternative to gigabit wired connections in many circumstances.

    • Avatar Data Analysis

      There is NO network storage NAS like devices on the market fullstop capable of the speeds mentioned. Wire, wireless, or otherwise. Which is evident as you still have not provided one.

  2. Avatar MrWhite

    I’d imagine this will benefit offices using a number of these access points each with multiple users, sharing the greater bandwidth

    • Avatar Data Analysis

      Yep MULTIPLE usage from many people or devices either for internet of file transferring and access is a far more logical use for it. Not some single internet connection “anywhere” in a home or some nerd transfering his pron stash. (how close to the device you have to be with devices and not being able to get internet at that speed in most cases around the globe being the main reasons).

    • Avatar Gordon

      Thats indeed where it will shine, bandwidth to multiple people. Not pie in the sky theories on imaginary NAS’s, theories which have gone from Home devices to NAS’s that cost thousands and are used in businesses.

  3. Avatar Chris P

    Are DA and Gordon one and the same? Both really annoying!

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