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Wireless PCIe will become a reality

Chip designers work on an ultra-wideband wireless bus
Thu Jul 15 2010, 11:46

ATHEROS AND WILOCITY are working towards a wireless technology that will fuse together traditional WiFi and internal communication buses on a PC as a wireless extension of the PCIe bus.

The tri-band communications technology combines 802.11g/n and PCIe in a single device, that is, 2.4GHz, 5GHz and a very sensitive 60GHz band frequency to deliver your regular WiFi fix plus multi-gigabit data rates for devices both internal and external, over what the companies are calling the “Dockingzone”, an external device that acts as an extension of your PC’s PCIe bus with all the perks of PCIe.

The crack team of former Intel employees at Wilocity developed the 60GHz wPCIe standard called WiGig a while back and this type of technology is already used by several vendors for streaming content over, say, wireless HDMI. Atheros will handle the implementation and hopefully the marketing as they have a strong foothold in the laptop business.

60GHz is a sensitive band to be playing on, and the final product is expected to deliver PCIe x1 equivalent bandwidth for peripherals, although in theory it could go twice as high, bridged by the wireless PCIe. Enough for most tasks, the companies pointed out - wireless vídeo, USB, SATA - but definitely a major plus if they can keep the power use in check and bung it in laptops.

Unfortunately neither company has set a date for this technology to reach the market, but the PCIe-superset nature of the wireless technology grants it some immunity to the passing of time. µ



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