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Qualcomm strengthens WiGig offering with Wilocity acquisition

WiGig, why not?

Mobile chip giant Qualcomm has announced the acquisition of Wilocity, which makes chips based on the much faster 802.11ad wifi standard, otherwise known as WiGig, and plans to throw it into the Snapdragon connectivity mix.

WiGig uses the 60GHz band and promises far higher speeds than currently available even from 802.11ac. However, the relatively high frequency also has distinct physical limitations such as range and line-of-sight, so is not a general-purpose wifi technology. Qualcomm imagines it will be used for things like streaming 4k video, network offload, etc.

Wilocity is one of the more conspicuous drivers of 60GHz technology, and Qualcomm will add it to the mix of wireless connectivity options it significantly augmented with its acquisition of Atheros three years ago. Qualcomm will integrate this technology into a “tri-band” wifi solution that uses the 2.4 GHz 802.11n, 5 GHz 802.11n, and 60 GHz 802.11ad bands to deliver the full wifi monty.

“WiGig will play an important role in Qualcomm’s strategy to address consumers’ increasingly sophisticated smartphone, tablet and computing requirements to support applications, such as immediate streaming of 4K video and high throughput peer-to-peer communication to enable the next generation of social interactions between users sharing content,” said Amir Faintuch, president of Qualcomm Atheros.

Qualcomm already does a good job of providing complete connectivity solutions via its Snapdragon SoCs, and this tri-band offering was already present in the Snapdragon 810 previously. The Wilocity acquisition is rumoured to be in the $300 million range, which is the kind of money Qualcomm routinely finds down the back of the sofa, so this seems to be a defensive move as much as anything, to ensure Qualcomm doesn’t get flanked by this particular wireless technology.

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