Intel goes WiGiggy for VR

Subject: General Tech | September 11, 2017 - 02:52 PM |
Tagged: wigig, Intel, 802.11ad, VR

News of the impending demise of Intel WiGig hardware, originally touted as a way to transmit various signals such as PCIe or HDMI wirelessly arrived over at The Inquirer today.  Some companies adopted the hardware into docking stations, monitors and external storage however the flexibility of WiGig was offset by transmission limitations which competing standards such as Bluetooth or WiFi do not suffer from. The improved performance offered by Thunderbolt 3 also prompted companies to choose wired connectivity over Intel's WiGig, the outcome of which has been a refocusing of Intel's resources to VR headset development.  This move could hurt a VR incumbent, the HTC Vive incorporated WiGig into a recent wireless headset prototype.  Companies have until the end of the month to order hardware.

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"Just days after announcing plans to discontinue its 6th-gen Skylake processors, Intel that it's ditching almost all of its current WiGig, or 802.11ad hardware by the end of 2017, including antennas and controllers."

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Tech Talk

Source: The Inquirer
Author:
Manufacturer: ASUS

Overview

It feels like forever that we've been hearing about 802.11ad. For years it's been an up-and-coming technology, seeing some releases in devices like Dell's WiGig-powered wireless docking stations for Latitude notebooks.

However, with the release of the first wave of 802.11ad routers earlier this year from Netgear and TP-Link there has been new attention drawn to more traditional networking applications for it. This was compounded with the announcement of a plethora of X299-chipset based motherboards at Computex, with some integrating 802.11ad radios.

That brings us to today, where we have the ASUS Prime X299-Deluxe motherboard, which we used in our Skylake-X review. This almost $500 motherboard is the first device we've had our hands on which features both 802.11ac and 802.11ad networking, which presented a great opportunity to get experience with WiGig. With promises of wireless transfer speeds up to 4.6Gbps how could we not?

For our router, we decided to go with the Netgear Nighthawk X10. While the TP-Link and Netgear options appear to share the same model radio for 802.11ad usage, the Netgear has a port for 10 Gigabit networking, something necessary to test the full bandwidth promises of 802.11ad from a wired connection to a wireless client.

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The Nighthawk X10 is a beast of a router (with a $500 price tag to match) in its own right, but today we are solely focusing on it for 802.11ad testing.

Making things a bit complicated, the Nighthawk X10's 10GbE port utilizes an SFP+ connector, and the 10GbE NIC on our test server, with the ASUS X99ā€‘Eā€‘10G WS motherboard, uses an RJ45 connection for its 10 Gigabit port. In order to remedy this in a manner where we could still move the router away from the test client to test the range, we used a Netgear ProSAFE XS716E 10GigE switch as the go-between.

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Essentially, it works like this. We are connecting the Nighthawk X10 to the ProSAFE switch through a SFP+ cable, and then to the test server through 10GBase-T. The 802.11ad client is of course connected wirelessly to the Nighthawk X10.

On the software side, we are using the tried and true iPerf3. You run this software in server mode on the host machine and connect to that machine through the same piece of software in client mode. In this case, we are running iPerf with 10 parallel clients, over a 30-second period which is then averaged to get the resulting bandwidth of the connection.

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There are two main takeaways from this chart - the maximum bandwidth comparison to 802.11ac, and the scaling of 802.11ad with distance.

First, it's impressive to see such high bandwidth over a wireless connection. In a world where the vast majority of the Ethernet connections are still limited to 1Gbps, seeing up to 2.2Gbps over a wireless connection is very promising.

However, when you take a look at the bandwidth drops as we move the router and client further and further away, we start to see some of the main issues with 802.11ad.

Instead of using more traditional frequency ranges like 2.4GHz and 5.0GHz like we've seen from Wi-Fi for so many years, 802.11ad uses frequency in the unlicensed 60GHz spectrum. Without getting too technical about RF technology, essentially this means that 802.11ad is capable of extremely high bandwidth rates, but cannot penetrate walls with line of sight between devices being ideal. In our testing, we even found that the given orientation of the router made a big difference. Rotating the router 180 degrees allowed us to connect or not in some scenarios.

As you can see, the drop off in bandwidth for the 802.11ad connection between our test locations 15 feet away from the client and 35 feet away from the client was quite stark. 

That being said, taking another look at our results you can see that in all cases the 802.11ad connection is faster than the 802.11ac results, which is good. For the promised applications of 802.11ad where the device and router are in the same room of reasonable size, WiGig seems to be delivering most of what is promised.

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It is likely we won't see high adoption rates of 802.11ad for networking computers. The range limitations are just too stark to be a solution that works for most homes. However, I do think WiGig has a lot of promise to replace cables in other situations. We've seen notebook docks utilizing WiGig and there has been a lot of buzz about VR headsets utilizing WiGig for wireless connectivity to gaming PCs.

802.11ad networking is in its infancy, so this is all subject to change. Stay tuned to PC Perspective for continuing news on 802.11ad and other wireless technologies!

CES 2017: Lenovo Announces new ThinkPad X1 Carbon Laptop

Subject: Mobile | January 3, 2017 - 03:01 AM |
Tagged: x1 carbon, wigig, thunderbolt 3, Thinkpad, notebook, LTE-A, Lenovo, laptop, ips, CES 2017, CES, 14 inch

Lenovo's 2017 version of the ThinkPad X1 Carbon is “the lightest 14-inch business notebook” on the market at 2.5 lbs, and fits its 14-inch IPS display into a compact 13-inch laptop form-factor.

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"Featuring a carbon-fiber reinforced chassis, the X1 Carbon is as durable as its predecessor, and features a smaller footprint—making it the lightest, thinnest X1 Carbon. Yet it’s power-packed with: Windows 10 Pro, 7th generation Intel Core processors, lightning-fast Thunderbolt 3, and a 14” Quad-HD display. All that—plus our legendary ThinkPad heritage and support."

Lenovo still left room in the slim chassis for plenty of battery capacity, as they claim “more than 15 hours of battery life” from this new X1 Carbon, which is available in both the traditional “ThinkPad Black” and a new metallic silver color. Another new addition to the X1 Carbon is Thunderbolt 3 connectivity, with wireless options including LTE-A and WiGig.

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Specifications from Lenovo:


  • Display
    • 14” WQHD IPS (2560 x 1440) 300 nits
    • 14” FHD IPS (1920 x 1080) 300 nits
  • Processor: Up to Intel Core 7th gen
  • Graphics: Integrated Intel HD Graphics 620
  • Memory: Up to 16GB 1866MHz LPDDR3
  • Storage
    • 128GB SSD SATA
    • 180GB SSD Intel® SATA
    • 256GB SSD Intel® PCIe TLC OPAL2 256GB SSD PCIe TLC OPAL2
    • 512GB SSD Intel® PCIe TLC OPAL2
    • 512GB SSD PCIe TLC OPAL2
    • 1TB SSD PCIe TLC OPAL2
  • Connectivity
    • I/O Ports
      • 2 x Intel® ThunderboltTM 3, 2 x USB 3.0, HDMI,
      • native RJ45, microSD, microSIM
    • WLAN
      • Intel® Dual-Band Wireless-AC 8265
      • 2 x 2 AC + Bluetooth® 4.2
    • WWAN
      • Qualcomm® SnapdragonTM X7 LTE-A EM7430
      • Qualcomm® SnapdragonTM X7 LTE-A EM7455
    • WiGig
      • Intel® Tri-Band Wireless-AC 18265 (WiGig +
      • WiFi 2 x 2 AC + Bluetooth® 4.2
    • NFC option
    • LTE-A (4G)
  • Security
    • dTPM 2.0 Display
    • Touch fingerprint reader option
    • Windows Hello
  • Audio: Dolby Audio Premium
  • Webcam: HD 720p, IR camera option
  • Battery: Up to 15.5 hours
  • Operating System: Windows 10 Pro (64 bit)
  • Dimensions (WxDxH): 323.5 x 217.1 x 15.95 mm / 12.7 x 8.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Weight: Starting at 2.49 lbs / 1.12 kg
  • Colors: Black, Silver

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As to pricing and availability, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon will start at $1,349, and will available in February.

Coverage of CES 2017 is brought to you by NVIDIA!

PC Perspective's CES 2017 coverage is sponsored by NVIDIA.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at https://pcper.com/ces!

Source: Lenovo

Samsung Announces 60GHz Wi-Fi (802.11ad)

Subject: General Tech | October 14, 2014 - 05:43 PM |
Tagged: Samsung, 802.11ad, wigig

Samsung Electronics, a member of the WiGig Alliance, has just announced an implementation that is capable of achieving 4.6 gigabit (575MB/s) speeds under the 802.11ad standard. Samsung claims that they have overcome "the barriers to commercialization" of wireless over 60GHz. This band has several disadvantages, including resonance with oxygen molecules (included under the blanket of "path loss" in the press release) and its opacity to many solid objects (referred to as "weak penetration properties" in the release).

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Image Credit: Wikipedia

Some features that Samsung credits themselves with are beam-forming with less than four-tenths of a millisecond latency and the ability to track multiple devices simultaneously. Beam-forming in particular is said to help offset the mostly line-of-sight properties of earlier 60GHz prototypes. This allows the signal to be directed toward devices, typically by manipulating interference patterns to reduce the energy lost by transmitting to locations without a receiver and thus giving more energy to the locations that do.

Its usage as a product will mostly depend on how tolerant they are to non line-of-sight situations. This rate is comparable to a high-end SATA SSD. Samsung claims that it will be useful for their Smart Home and Internet of Things initiatives, similar to the Stanford and Berkeley announcement last month, but also mention it in terms of medical devices.

Source: Samsung

Dell Releases Wireless 802.11ad Dock With USB 3.0, Mutli-Display Support

Subject: General Tech | March 4, 2013 - 07:00 AM |
Tagged: wireless dock, wigig, dock, dell, computing, 802.11ad

Dell has launched a new docking station for its laptops. In an interesting twist, the dock connects to the computer over an 802.11ad “WiGig” link to provide up to 7Gbps bandwidth between the dock and laptop. The Dell Wireless D5000 docking station supports multi-display, USB 3.0, and audio output. According to Dell, it is the worlds first commercially available wireless dock.

The Wireless D5000 dock pairs with Dell's 1601 WiGig card, which is currently only available with Dell's Latitude 6430u laptop. Pairing is a simple matter of hitting the pairing button and hitting connect in Dell's Connection Manager software. A single USB 3.0 port and headphone jack are also available on the front of the device.

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Rear IO on the Dell Wireless D5000 dock includes DC power jack, Ethernet jack, two USB 3.0 ports, a single HDMI port, and one DisplayPort output. Additionally, the D5000 uses a WiGig radio to provide the connectivitiy over a wireless link. WiGig, or 802.11ad, uses the 60GHz wireless spectrum to provide high bandwidth at short distances. The chip Dell is using in the dock is capable of falling back to 2.4GHz or 5GHz bands–you can expect significantly slower speeds in that situation though. You will be able to take your computer with you, set it on the desk and have two desktop monitors, a wired network connection, and USB 3.0 ports. Not bad, though Justin Kerr over at Maximum PC notes that wireless power for charging your laptop would have really ratcheted-up the dock's usefulness.

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In terms of connectivity, there is nothing especially new here that Thunderbolt docks are not already providing (aside from the wireless nature, of course). I say this because the Dell D5000 dock's pricing is in line with many of the Thunderbolt options. If you can stand a wired connection to the dock and your laptop/ultrabook has a Thunderbolt port, you could grab a dock with similar port options, higher theoretical bandwith, and a Thunderbolt passthrough. The Dell D5000 is available for $270 at Dell's online store, but it is reportedly cheaper if purchased with the Dell Latitude 6430U laptop. In that scenario, the wireless dock is only $190 (which is, admittedly, pretty good even against Thunderbolt docks).

Source: Dell