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Apple could embrace new high-speed Wi-Fi specification - report

post #1 of 33
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The head of a new Wi-Fi standard known as WiGig, which offers data speeds of 7 gigabits per second and aims to replace high definition video cables, has implied that Apple could adopt the technology in the future.

WiGig and the Wi-Fi Alliance will attempt to persuade networking hardware manufacturers like Linksys and D-Link to include the new format in their upcoming products. WiGig is said to be up to 10 times faster than the current 802.11N speeds, allowing the wireless transfer of high-definition video and potentially replacing wired connections such as HDMI.

Ali Sadri, chairman and president of the Wireless Gigabit Alliance Alliance, suggested to the Los Angeles Times that Apple could adopt the new standard, but did not clarify whether he was sharing known details, or merely hoping that the Mac maker would support the new high-speed technology.

"In addition to Dell, Cisco Systems recently joined the organization's board of directors. While Sardi pointed to Apple as an innovator in driving new technology uptake, he wouldn't comment on the company's involvement," the report said. "Apple didn't respond to a request for comment."

Sardi did say, however, that "practically all of the Wi-Fi chip manufacturers" are on board. But WiGig is viewed as a complement, rather than a permanent replacement, for existing Wi-Fi, as it has a much smaller footprint than the current technology.

The Wi-Fi Alliance and WiGig Alliance announced on Monday that they will cooperate for the multi-gigabit wireless networking standard, using shared technology specifications for a next-generation Wi-Fi alliance Wi-Fi Alliance certification program supporting Wi-Fi operation in the 60GHz frequency.

"60 GHz device connectivity will be an exciting enhancement to the capabilities of today's Wi-Fi technologies. It will expand the utility of Wi-Fi, used by hundreds of millions of people every day," said Wi-Fi Alliance chief executive officer Edgar Figueroa. "From its inception, the WiGig specification was designed to work on a wide variety of devices, making it a compelling input as we begin to define our certification program for 60 GHz wireless."

Despite Monday's announcement, the first WiGig products are expected to take at least two years to become available for sale. But the report asked readers to imagine future technology that would allow wireless streaming of Hulu to the living room, or an Xbox that could wirelessly connect to a TV over a Wi-Fi network once it's plugged in.

If Apple is in fact planning on embracing WiGig in its future products, it's yet another future technology the Mac maker is looking at. Last year, it was revealed that Apple has partnered with Intel to drive the adoption of Light Peak, a new specification for high-speed optical cables. Light Peak is planned to replace a variety of existing ports, including USB, FireWire and DisplayPort.

The optical cabling in Light Peak would allow an initial throughput of 10Gbps, which could transfer a full-length Blu-ray movie in less than 30 seconds. Within a decade, Intel expects to achieve speeds of 100Gbps.

Another potential future technology from Apple was revealed in a patent application earlier this year, with a new cable that would transmit both USB 3.0 and DisplayPort with one connector.
post #2 of 33
We already know for a fact that Apple has been hiring WiMax experts, so if this becomes widely adopted I'd expect Apple to adopt it as well.

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post #3 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

We already know for a fact that Apple has been hiring WiMax experts, so if this becomes widely adopted I'd expect Apple to adopt it as well.

I wouldn't be surprised to see Apple be the first to adopt. They have a strong history of early dropping of old tech (floppy drives), and early adoption of new tech (USB, Firewire). Maybe this is what they are holding back AppleTV for? Or not, since it may take a couple of years for TV makers to adopt.
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post #4 of 33
The Physics of WiFi

Let's start with wireless communication in general. In 1831, Michael Faraday discovered the foundation of radio, decades before the first message was ever sent. He discovered that when he put a wire in a magnetic field, a current was induced in the wire for a brief period of time. Essentially, a small amount of energy was being transmitted wirelessly from the magnetic field to the wire. Each time he connected and then disconnected the two terminals of a battery (using a long loop of wire, one end to +, other end to -), the voltage in the other, unconnected wire increased slightly and then fell to 0 again.

This effect was first used to transmit over a distance between two mountains in Virginia, by Mahlon Loomis in 1864. Mahlon flew two kites, each with a 600ft wire grounded to the earth. When he, using a simple switch, disconnected one kite's wire from it's ground, a change in current was detected in the other kite. The distance between them: 18 miles.

Today, we know that radio waves are responsible for interaction. Radio waves are electromagnetic radiation, just like the light that we see. Radio and light waves are distinguished by their wavelength. Picture a sine wave. The distance from the highest point to another of the highest point (or, as physicists say, from crest to crest) is the wavelength, usually denoted by the greek letter "lambda." Mathematicians and scientists are overly fond of Greek letters--but I use L. Wavelength is usually measured in meters

Another important piece of information about a radio wave is it's amplitude, or A. A simply means the height of the wave, the vertical distance from high point to low point, or from crest to trough. Amplitude is also measured in meters

Finally, waves have a frequency f. If you stood still and watched radio waves fly past you (considerably fast!), and you counted all the crests that passed in one second, that'd be the frequency. An interesting mathematical relationship for waves is (remember the speed of light?) c = L x f. The speed of light is the wavelength of a wave times its frequency. Later on, we will use this formula to compute the wavelength of 2.4Ghz WiFi.

This equation has an interesting consequence. Since the speed of light is constant (as most people think...there are some who question and I am one of them; assuming it's constant works for our purposes, no matter how these arguments turn out), then the wavelength can be computed from the frequency and visa versa. Frequency is measured in some form of Hertz (i.e. Megaherts, Gigahertz, Kilohertz, etc.)

Modern radios use a continuously varying current instead of an on/off system to transmit a signal. This way they can transmit information in a sine wave, which can hold more information more accurately. Sine waves are particularly suited to sound transmission.

To send, say, a voice signal, a "carrier" wave is generated, usually as a sine function. The information to be carried is then entwined with the carrier signal (how depends on whether it's AM, FM or even PM). AM, short for amplitude modulation, means that the amplitude A of the wave changes to signify the bits of the information. Far more common is FM, or frequency modulation, in which the wave's frequency (and hence wavelength, remember?) changes. FM is far more reliable than AM for transmitting information. Almost unheard of is PM, Pulse Modulation. PM waves simply mean that the circuit is turned on and off to transmit a signal, much like how the first radios worked. The only large-scale use of PM I can think of is for carrying time information to all the atomically synchronized clocks. While unreliable in terms of data (how many times a day do you really need to update your clock, anyway?) PM is a powerful transmission method, so much so that a single transmitter covers the entire United States.

The wattage of a transmitter determines in how powerful the signal is. WiFi calls for maximum 1 Watt transmission, an AM radio station might use 50,000 Watts.

Once radio waves are in the air on a particular frequency, a tuner in range must then pick them up and convert the sine wave back into usable information. Tuners work based on another physics principle known as resonance. A common example of resonance is when people break glass by singing alarmingly high notes. The sound waves, vibrating through the air at the natural frequency of glass (a frequency that causes glass to vibrate with giant amplitudes), induce vibrations in the glass, which cause it to break. In a radio, the tuner resonates at the particular frequency it's tuned to, so only those waves will be amplified. The net result is that waves of a set frequency are picked out of the air and amplified far above the strength of the other waves. Thus, tuners 'select' which radio waves we want to listen to.

After the signal is picked out from among all the radio noise in the air, another component called a demodulator subtracts the carrier signal from the radio wave to obtain the original signal.

WiFi works by radio transmission, usually in the unlicensed 2.4 Ghz ISM Band (ISM = Insustrial, Scientific, and Medical). WiFi transmission is essentially FM transmission, in that the frequency is changed to transmit data. For example, 2.4 Ghz WiFi uses something called Complementary Code Keying to vary the frequency and send data. That's for another tutorial, though (read: I'll explain it when I understand it).

Radio interference is a natural problem, and simply refers to the cluttered state of the airwaves?everybody is using radio waves! For many purposes this isn't a problem, but WiFi works in the unlicensed band. Therefore, anyone can use it. Thus, the 2.4 Ghz frequency is stuffed full of radio waves just waiting to interfere with transmissions.

But wait! There are 11 channels in WiFi. Each channel has a (slightly) different frequency, so by using a different channel we can avoid colliding networks, right?

Alas, this doesn't work very well, for two reasons: one related to FCC regulations and the other a physical principle. As for the first, each of these channels is 5 Mhz apart and 22 Mhz wide. Therefore, the channels overlap and cut into each other. The only mutually nonoverlapping channels are 1, 6, and 11. Unfortunately, microwave ovens are known to wreak havoc on channel 11. And if anyone's using channel 3, they'll interfere with both 1 and 6. Go figure.

The second reason channels don't work concerns the origins of radio waves of a certain frequency. By generating a carrier wave of frequency f and allowing it to control the current in a wire, we create a magnetic field. But this magnetic field is created by electrons moving in the antenna. The electrons, it turns out, vibrate at a certain frequency. But phyiscs tells us that whenever something vibrates, there are other, harmonic frequencies that vibrate alongside it. Therefore, we can't send radio waves at a certain frequency only, because if we try we get waves at the harmonic frequencies too. Thus, all transmissions interfere with each other to some extent.

A basic principle of electromagnetic waves is that when they overlap, they add. But if a crest is added with a trough, the result is no wave at all. Thus, two waves can cancel each other. To do this, they have to be "offset" by half their wavelength. Even when they don't perfectly cancel, some destructive interference still occurs.
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post #5 of 33
Don't care.

internet cable pipeline is slow 10 base T and is the bottle neck anyway.

I'm streaming HD to apple tv with N ... works great. Only have the power wires, HDMI wire and speaker wires. Just not an issue for me. There will always be wires at least for power on these systems ... so who cares that they have to run and HDMI from a device like apple tv to the television?
post #6 of 33
In radio communication systems, Equivalent isotropically radiated power (EIRP) or, alternatively, Effective isotropically radiated power is the amount of power that a theoretical isotropic antenna (which evenly distributes power in all directions) would emit to produce the peak power density observed in the direction of maximum antenna gain. EIRP can take into account the losses in transmission line and connectors and includes the gain of the antenna. The EIRP is often stated in terms of decibels over a reference power emitted by an isotropic radiator with an equivalent signal strength. The EIRP allows comparisons between different emitters regardless of type, size or form. From the EIRP, and with knowledge of a real antenna's gain, it is possible to calculate real power and field strength values.

where EIRP and PT (power of transmitter) are in dBm, cable losses (Lc) is in dB, and antenna gain (Ga) is expressed in dBi, relative to a (theoretical) isotropic reference antenna.
This example uses dBm, although it is also common to see dBW.
Decibels are a convenient way to express the ratio between two quantities. dBm uses a reference of 1mW and dBW uses a reference of 1W.

and

A transmitter with a 50W output can be expressed as a 17dBW output or 47dBm.

The EIRP is used to estimate the service area of the transmitter, and to co-ordinate transmitters on the same frequency so that their coverage areas do not overlap.
In built-up areas, regulations may restrict the EIRP of a transmitter to prevent exposure of personnel to high power electromagnetic fields however EIRP is normally restricted to minimize interference to services on similar frequencies.
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post #7 of 33
Band\tFrequency\tWavelength\tPropagation via
VLF\tVery Low Frequency\t330 kHz\t10010*km\tGuided between the earth and the ionosphere.
LF\tLow Frequency\t30300 kHz\t101*km\tGuided between the earth and the D layer of the ionosphere.
Surface waves.

MF\tMedium Frequency\t3003000 kHz\t1000100*m\tSurface waves.
E, F layer ionospheric refraction at night, when D layer absorption weakens.

HF\tHigh Frequency (Short Wave)\t330 MHz\t10010 m\tE layer ionospheric refraction.
F1, F2 layer ionospheric refraction.

VHF\tVery High Frequency\t30300 MHz\t101 m\tInfrequent E ionospheric refraction. Extremely rare F1, F2 layer ionospheric refraction during high sunspot activity up to 80*MHz. Generally direct wave. Sometimes tropospheric ducting.
UHF\tUltra High Frequency\t3003000 MHz\t10010*cm\tDirect wave. Sometimes tropospheric ducting.
SHF\tSuper High Frequency\t330 GHz\t101*cm\tDirect wave.
EHF\tExtremely High Frequency\t30300 GHz\t101*mm\tDirect wave limited by absorption.
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post #8 of 33
Hope wireless Cinema Display comes out in the next few years
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post #9 of 33
2 years is a lot of time before products hit. The market may look totally different in mid 2012. Kind of hard to get excited about product that's not hitting within a year.

I do like the idea of wireless HDMI though. Being able to mount a LCD or Plasma on the wall and only need to plug it into AC is a boon for cleaner setups.

Seeing as how the alliance between WiGig and the Wifi Alliance will bring integrated chipsets it's a no brainer. You can choose to use the WiGig features or just take advantage of the Wifi features as long as there's no significant premium.
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post #10 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


"In addition to Dell, Cisco Systems recently joined the organization's board of directors. While Sardi pointed to Apple as an innovator in driving new technology uptake, he wouldn't comment on the company's involvement," the report said. "Apple didn't respond to a request for comment."

I don't see major HD TV manufacturers on the board. Does this mean that this is a joke? I mean come on ... no Sony, Samsung, Panasonic, Toshiba, LG, Sharp, JVC? Aren't these companies driving home theater technologies?
post #11 of 33
I sure hope they don't expect this to be anywhere close to a replacement for WiFi. There is no way a 60 GHz signal is going to penetrate walls (or even window glass) unless they crank the wattage to police traffic radar levels (which operate at almost half the frequency and still bounce by design).

That says nothing, of course, of a 60 GHz signal operating at or close to the resonance of atmospheric oxygen, so the signal is going to be attenuated to hell and back at anything outside a handful of feet from the antenna, let alone any issues of "rain fade" that would happen should you walk between the transceivers.

This might work for a high speed point-to-point link between devices on a desktop, maybe in the same room if they aren't too far apart, but that's about it.
post #12 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevetim View Post

Don't care.

internet cable pipeline is slow 10 base T and is the bottle neck anyway.

I'm streaming HD to apple tv with N ... works great. Only have the power wires, HDMI wire and speaker wires. Just not an issue for me. There will always be wires at least for power on these systems ... so who cares that they have to run and HDMI from a device like apple tv to the television?

why would you run audio wires AND hdmi which carries the audio signal? your love for wires has made you crazy! I'll take a power chord and wireless connection, please. Then I can mount a tv to the wall and only have to run one wire to it. Wires are evil and outdated. The sooner we get rid of them, the better.
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post #13 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by MachineShedFred View Post

I sure hope they don't expect this to be anywhere close to a replacement for WiFi. There is no way a 60 GHz signal is going to penetrate walls (or even window glass) unless they crank the wattage to police traffic radar levels (which operate at almost half the frequency and still bounce by design).

That says nothing, of course, of a 60 GHz signal operating at or close to the resonance of atmospheric oxygen, so the signal is going to be attenuated to hell and back at anything outside a handful of feet from the antenna, let alone any issues of "rain fade" that would happen should you walk between the transceivers.

This might work for a high speed point-to-point link between devices on a desktop, maybe in the same room if they aren't too far apart, but that's about it.

I'd be ok with that. I don't need it to go down the hall if it makes my life easier to have my electronics not have to live beneath my tv
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post #14 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffreytgilbert View Post

why would you run audio wires AND hdmi which carries the audio signal? your love for wires has made you crazy! I'll take a power chord and wireless connection, please. Then I can mount a tv to the wall and only have to run one wire to it. Wires are evil and outdated. The sooner we get rid of them, the better.

Have to run the wires to the speakers don't we

Never met a wireless speaker that had any sound quality.
post #15 of 33
This is news!?

Okay if that's a news here's my headline.

Apple could embrace Ferrari for it's new fleet vehicle.

It could happen. Anything could happen. Although it doesn't mean it will.
post #16 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by MobileMe View Post

The Physics of WiFi

Let's start with wireless communication in general. .........

Thank you, professor!

A little shorter would be even better!
post #17 of 33
Who wants to place bets now that in 5 or 10 years it will be discovered that we were all scrambling our DNA or brain cells with the proliferation of wireless signals bouncing around and through our bodies.

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post #18 of 33
new technology announced, apple could utilize it.
post #19 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffreytgilbert View Post

I'd be ok with that. I don't need it to go down the hall if it makes my life easier to have my electronics not have to live beneath my tv

Maybe not directly underneath, but if you have any oxygen in the room you'll have to keep your electronics close to the TV. The effective range of anything in the 60GHz band is going to be a few metres at best.

Personally I think the space under the TV is better suited to electronics than most other places in the same room. At least you point all the remotes in the same direction that way. No matter which one you pick up it does something when you press buttons.

Hey, that gives an idea for a game. Make everyone have to guess where to point the remotes. Generic looking remote #1 needs to aim at the TV. Generic looking remote #2 controls the BluRay player on the book shelf in the corner. Generic looking remote #3, has to be pointed at what used to be a wood burning fireplace, but is now the hiding spot for the audio system.

I've tried using my Harmon Kardon "smart" remote to control other devices, but it doesn't work. Maybe I have too many old components from too many different manufacturers, but in order to make everything work I need 5 remotes. Having little kids really makes it fun because there are at least two of them "hiding" at any given time.
post #20 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by desarc View Post

new technology announced, apple could utilize it.

This is the only "tech" site I visit, so I'm glad to have articles like this
post #21 of 33
It's amazing what kind of crappy news article can be created by using the word 'could' in the headline. Here are some examples:
  • Apple could use spent nuclear rods to power future devices
  • Apple one day could create a quantum computer
  • Apple could change its name to Zapple so it can be on the other end of the alphabet

It's like the patent trolls who get wood at every little high-concept patent application Apple submits. ("Apple files patent that allows butterflies to use rainbows for data transfer" eventually leads to 'could'-laden headlines on enthusiast websites.)
post #22 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by macinthe408 View Post

("Apple files patent that allows butterflies to use rainbows for data transfer")

Could you provide a link?!!!
post #23 of 33
I see someone has been channeling an about.com-like site.

Anyways per the article:
Quote:
and aims to replace high definition video cables,

There already is a wireless HDMI standard. Besides, how much money is being spent to replace a $5 cable to connect two stationary (non-mobile) devices? If you're going to spend so much money on extra power consuming electronics to "hide" the wires, why not run the cables inside the walls? That's what I did. There's far less risk of interference, 60GHz is well beyond the point where just walking between the two components can seriously degrade signal quality.
post #24 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevetim View Post

Don't care.

internet cable pipeline is slow 10 base T and is the bottle neck anyway.

I'm streaming HD to apple tv with N ... works great. Only have the power wires, HDMI wire and speaker wires. Just not an issue for me. There will always be wires at least for power on these systems ... so who cares that they have to run and HDMI from a device like apple tv to the television?

I also stream video to my TV via AppleTV using N. It may be because I have so much content that the video pauses occasionally, or takes some time to sync. Plus my iTunes is backed up to an external HDD connected to my Airport Extreme Base wirelessly. However, I am sure that faster Wifi/network speeds will certainly help out.
If I could lose the HDMI cable from the AppleTV to the TV I'd be in heaven. As it is right now, I am limited in the configure my custom entertainment unit. I have to keep my AppleTV within a certain distance from the TV. Same as all of my other components... PS3, Xbox, Cable Box, Blu-ray Player, Receiver. If wires were not necessary I would have more freedom to design my unit without having to figure out where to hid the wires.
I suppose what I'm saying is, there are more people to think about then just yourself? So who cares if you don't care because many others will.
post #25 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Who wants to place bets now that in 5 or 10 years it will be discovered that we were all scrambling our DNA or brain cells with the proliferation of wireless signals bouncing around and through our bodies.

I do think this needs a lot of research to be undertaken, funded by someone other than the wireless industry.

I'm not sure where I sit on the debate (though there does seem to be increasing evidence that mobile phones can cause tumors - http://www.encognitive.com/node/2859), but it does concern me that there seems to be a connection between funding of studies and their findings (i.e. studies funded by the wireless industry finds no health effects, studies funded elsewhere find there are health effects). NPR had an interesting story about this a couple of weeks ago, but I can't find it on their website, so can't provide a link (sorry!)

Given the seeming connection between study funding and study findings, it bothers me that this could become similar to the tobacco companies suppressing studies that linked smoking to lung cancer.
post #26 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by teunis View Post

So who cares if you don't care because many others will.

I'm just stating an opinion in a message board like thousands of others before me, I'm not saying you have to agree.

But seriously I wouldn't hold my breath for this technology. All I see is what Steve Job's referred to with blu-ray is "a bag of hurt". Hope I'm wrong. I don't see apple plunging into this technology any more than they did with blu-ray. And Steve Job's is on board of blue-ray among all those major TV manufacturers.

not sure why you are having the stuttering problem on apple tv. My base station is 3 rooms away and no problems. I hear wireless telephones can create problems (I have none, so I'm not sure).
post #27 of 33
Uh Oh

I see sony is on board with WirelessHD ... a competitor on same band width. Is this another VHS vs Beta
post #28 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulMJohnson View Post

I'm not sure where I sit on the debate (though there does seem to be increasing evidence that mobile phones can cause tumors

Great, now the tinfoil hat I wear to block those nagging transmissions from space aliens can protect me from cancer too!
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post #29 of 33
I actually wonder if Narrowly Directional Wireless Signal is possible? In theory it should save power, reduce interference, more consistent performance, and less harm to human.

i.e , In a WirelessHD environment, or Media Player to TV, the 60Ghz Signal will be only shooting at the TV Direction, and therefore extremely limited signal is absorbed by human, hence it is actually saver then WiFi.

I am just wondering how "narrow" direction can it get and if this is possible.

P.S - WiGig is still not fast enough compare to WirelessHD 2.0 - which is 10 - 14Gbps.
post #30 of 33
I'm sorry all that stuff was invented and patented by Nokia so you'll have to pay them to use it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MobileMe View Post

The Physics of WiFi
.../snip...
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post #31 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

Thank you, professor!

A little shorter would be even better!

LOL I skipped all of it down to the last sentence.
post #32 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by ksec View Post

I actually wonder if Narrowly Directional Wireless Signal is possible? In theory it should save power, reduce interference, more consistent performance, and less harm to human.

i.e , In a WirelessHD environment, or Media Player to TV, the 60Ghz Signal will be only shooting at the TV Direction, and therefore extremely limited signal is absorbed by human, hence it is actually saver then WiFi.

I am just wondering how "narrow" direction can it get and if this is possible.

Directional will add costs, either with a mechanical pointing antenna that's prone to breaking, adding several automatically selectable antennas or adding a lot of complexity & cost by using phased arrays.
post #33 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by ksec View Post

I actually wonder if Narrowly Directional Wireless Signal is possible? In theory it should save power, reduce interference, more consistent performance, and less harm to human.

i.e , In a WirelessHD environment, or Media Player to TV, the 60Ghz Signal will be only shooting at the TV Direction, and therefore extremely limited signal is absorbed by human, hence it is actually saver then WiFi.

I am just wondering how "narrow" direction can it get and if this is possible.

P.S - WiGig is still not fast enough compare to WirelessHD 2.0 - which is 10 - 14Gbps.

Adding a directional antenna will add support issues, since you'll have to aim it. Also, should you want to hide your gear inside a cabinet, you'll have to modify the cabinet in order to get a 60 GHz signal out of it. Should that cabinet be at the back of the room (with an IR remote extender or such), any time you stand up from the couch you'll likely block and scatter the 60 GHz signal as you are a big fleshy bag of water, and high frequency RF doesn't like water.

I just see using stuff at that high frequency outside of a couple feet of clear line-of-sight as being problematic, and causing a crap-ton of support calls.
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