Expect WiGig support in future Macs

Future Macs will almost certainly add support for 802.11ad, also known as WiGig. Its name makes it sound like the follow-up to 802.11ac, but that's not the case.

WiGig isn't aimed at replacing your wireless network. Instead it's designed to aid your existing Wi-Fi by providing a fast, direct link between devices. More on that in a moment.

802.11ad, marks the coming of 7Gbps wireless. Data transfer rates are purportedly over 10 times the maximum speed previously enabled within the IEEE 802.11 standard.This involves fast speeds over short distances; 802.11ad will deliver 7Gbps speeds over 60GHz frequencies.

WiGig is so fast that it can be used as a "wireless bus extension." In other words, it can wirelessly substitute for hardware inside your Mac. Imagine a hard drive sitting on your desk -- or near your desk -- but not physically connected to your computer. If both your Mac and the HD were WiGig enabled, the former could access data from the latter with, at least in theory, zero latency. 

802.11ac and 802.11ad aren't competitors, but will work together to complement each other's weaknesses. The latter is much faster, but it's not as good at penetrating solid objects, like walls, as the former. Plus, 802.11ad is more directional and has a shorter transmission range. 

Can we expect a WiGig product from Apple? I’d bet on it. And if Apple had embraced WiGig as a part of its latest MacBook, it could have introduced a high-speed, energy efficient alternative to 802.11ac. 

When Apple makes its WiGig move, look for something along the lines of the AR9004TB from Qualcomm and Wilocity, a leading developer of 60GHz multi-gigabit wireless chipsets for the mobile computing, consumer electronics and peripheral markets. It's a tri-band Wi-Fi chipset that integrates the multi-gigabit performance of in-room 60GHz band with handoff to 2.4GHz and 5GHz band Wi-Fi. As such, the chipset integrates 802.11n and WiGig/802.11ad technologies in the same form factor.