Qualcomm acquires Wilocity for 60-GHz WiGig technology

July 3, 2014. Qualcomm Inc. has announced that it has taken two major steps to enable the industry to deliver multi-gigabit wireless with 60-GHz technology for mobile, computing, and networking devices. First, Qualcomm has completed its acquisition of Wilocity, a leader in development of 60-GHz wireless chipsets based on the IEEE 802.11ad standard, also known as WiGig technology.

Second, the company is delivering a family of tri-band platforms that combine Qualcomm Atheros Wi-Fi and WiGig solutions to significantly increase performance and enable cutting-edge wireless applications. The initial tri-band platform is a reference design based on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810, which is the world’s first mobile platform designed to support WiGig to enable applications such as 4K video streaming, peer-to-peer content sharing, networking, wireless docking, and backing up entire media libraries in seconds. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor is a product of Qualcomm Technologies Inc.

Mobile data traffic is expected to grow significantly in the coming years, and Qualcomm and its subsidiaries are charging ahead to meet this demand with a combination of wireless innovations. While 802.11ac enables Gigabit Wi-Fi networks to offload mobile traffic, 60-GHz technology brings multigigabit speeds, significant capacity improvements, and power efficiency that are integral to meeting the challenges posed by next generation media applications. With the integration of WiGig into its mobile platforms, Qualcomm will enable mobile devices to provide near-instantaneous access to the cloud and allow for greater cellular network offload. 802.11ad also extends the Qualcomm VIVE portfolio and builds on the company’s recent initiatives to revolutionize Wi-Fi networks with11ac 2.0 solutions with MU-MIMO. 

Qualcomm’s mobile and networking innovation, combined with Wilocity’s position in 60-GHz technology, are designed to provide the needed coverage, performance, capacity, and compatibility to enable the next generation of home and business networks. 60-GHz technology complements traditional Wi-Fi with zones of ultrahigh-speed connectivity while expanding the wireless use cases for high-end mobile, computing, and consumer electronics devices. Tri-band Wi-Fi solutions from Qualcomm Atheros integrate the multigigabit performance of 802.11ad operating in the 60-GHz spectrum band along with 802.11ac that operates in the 5-GHz band and 802.11b/g/n in the 2.4-GHz band. In combination, 11ad and 11ac create the most powerful and efficient wireless solution in the market; coupling the whole home coverage of 11ac with the in-area multi-gigabit connectivity of 11ad will provide users with a superior connected experience.

“Qualcomm is continually innovating and investing in leadership technologies to drive value for our customers while creating new growth opportunities for our mobile, computing, and networking platforms. 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, Qualcomm Atheros. “Combining multigigabit speeds and low energy use, WiGig technology will strengthen Qualcomm Atheros’ connectivity leadership and create exciting new experiences that will accelerate the commercialization and adoption of 802.11ad technology. Ultimately, the integration of WiGig will help Qualcomm fulfill its 1000x vision to densify the network to address increasing mobile data demand.”

Qualcomm Atheros has been an investor in Wilocity since 2008 and worked closely with Wilocity to develop and distribute tri-band solutions for the computing market since 2011. This successful collaboration is now expanding into Qualcomm’s mobile and networking designs, with the Snapdragon 810 becoming the world’s first mobile platform to support tri-band wireless. As a result, the next generation of smartphones and tablets will offer new streaming, synching and storage capabilities.

“Qualcomm Atheros and Wilocity have a successful history of collaboration and share a culture of invention,” said Tal Tamir, chief executive officer, Wilocity. “The Wilocity team will build upon Qualcomm’s strengths and leadership to collaboratively deliver innovative wireless technology for mobile, computing, and networking customers to address the needs of an increasingly connected world. We are excited to join forces to take our 60 GHz vision to the next level and scale.”

Financial terms of the transaction are not being disclosed.

Industry support for 60-GHz wireless

“Tri-band wireless capabilities will revolutionize enterprise computing and networking, with enterprises benefiting immensely,” said Sujai Hajela, senior vice president, enterprise networking group, Cisco. “The multigigabit performance and enhanced network capacity that is delivered through WiGig will dramatically alter the way people access and use network-based resources. It’s great to be working with an industry leader like Qualcomm, who is investing in the latest technologies and driving an ecosystem that can take advantage of them.”

“As the first company to launch WiGig products and co-creator of the WiGig specification, we’re well acquainted with the power of 60-GHz technology for both businesses and consumers,” said Kirk Schell, vice president, commercial PC group, Dell. “There is a growing demand for high-speed desktop and LAN connectivity, and we know this is just the beginning for 60-GHz applications—making it that much more important that the industry is ready to deliver. We’re thrilled Qualcomm is joining Dell in driving WiGig forward.”

“Tri-band Wi-Fi, including multigigabit 60-GHz connectivity with WiGig, will help foster a new generation of amazing experiences across a broad range of devices, including PCs, tablets, and phones,” said Billy Anders, group manager, operating systems,  Microsoft Corp. “A little-known fact is that WiGig began during a meeting on Microsoft’s campus with several other companies, including Wilocity. It’s gratifying to see the rapid evolution of this technology, and this development indicates a rapid proliferation of WiGig.”

“The Wi-Fi Alliance is pleased to see Qualcomm drive WiGig technology more broadly into the industry,” said Edgar Figueroa, president and chief executive officer, Wi-Fi Alliance. “This development indicates the industry and market’s progress toward wide adoption of 60-GHz technology. WiGig CERTIFIED will extend the Wi-Fi Alliance vision for seamless connectivity and enable new use cases.”


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