Nitero's WiGig, 802.11ad chip family specifically designed for mobile use

Competition in the WiGig market is heating up rapidly, with Tier 1 smartphone companies asking for 11ad for late-2015 models. The latest WiGig offering is from fabless semiconductor company Nitero, which is applying its 60 GHz CMOS expertise to 60G, its new family of 802.11ad solutions designed for mobile devices plus displays and peripherals.

Pat Kelly CEO


The first product in the family is the NT4600, which specifically targets mobile device power, performance and form-factor requisites. Austin, Texas-based Nitero is demonstrating the NT4600 to partners and customers and expects to begin production shipments in 2015.

Pat Kelly, Nitero CEO, cited the "huge momentum now with .11ad," given Qualcomm's (NASDAQ:QCOM) acquisition of Wilocity, which he said "by all accounts is to really go after the Samsung sockets that Broadcom has" in certain high-end Samsung products.

He also cited Intel's recent announcement of its Skylake platform, which will ditch cables thanks to the use of WiGig and Rezence technologies. "It's great to see Qualcomm and Intel on the same side. That's giving a lot of people confidence that .11ad is really going to happen," Kelly told FierceWirelessTech.

Use cases for WiGig, also called 60 GHz Wi-Fi, typically include residential 4K multimedia streaming, in-office wireless docking as well as ultra-fast media offloading and downloading. Kelly touted Nitero's 60G family for mobile products, which he said specifically addresses use cases involving smartphones, phablets and tablets. Nitero's platform, unlike Wilocity's, is built from the ground up to meet mobile device requirements, rather than being "an 802.11ad solution built for the PC and slimmed down for mobile," Kelly said.

The NT4600 takes advantage of Samsung's 28-nanometer RF process. Compared against 60 GHz solutions designed for the PC, Nitero's NT4600 promises 10 times lower power consumption and a 10 times reduction in form factor. It also offers 10 times lower joules-per-bit and five times higher data rate when compared to 802.11ac 2x2 MIMO solutions in a full room at 4.6 Gbps.

Kelly observed that while single-antenna 802.11ad solutions offer low power, they sacrifice in-room performance. However, Nitero's NT4600 supports transmit and receive beamforming to support non-line-of-sight conditions and provide coverage throughout the office, living room or conference room. "We feel that we've hit the optimized point here of very low power but still fully supporting the in-room experience," Kelly said.

The device also provides peer-to-peer wireless connectivity using 16-QAM modulation at up to 4.6 Gbps and includes a PCI Express host interface to support the latest mobile applications processors while   minimizing software overhead. Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) Android driver support is also included.

"The market for 60 GHz Wi-Fi is set to pick up in a big way in 2015 due to its adoption into increasingly powerful 4K-capable smartphones," said Philip Solis, research director at ABI Research. "Nitero is one of the few companies that will have 60 GHz Wi-Fi modules ready for mobile products next year."

Nitero got its start via CMOS millimeter-wave research conducted by NICTA--which is Australia's largest organization dedicated to information communications technology (ICT) research--and the University of Melbourne from 2004 until Nitero's spinout from NICTA in 2011. The company still maintains a design center in Melbourne, Australia. Venture capital funding has been provided by Austin Ventures, Southern Cross Venture Partners and Trailblazer Capital.

For more:
- see this Nitero release

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