Edge of Innovation

How cable-banishing WiGig technology will inspire truly wire-free laptops

 

What makes the HP Elite x2 1011 G1 (above) special isn’t that it’s a lightweight 2-in-1 laptop with a detachable 11.6-inch display and an Intel fifth generation Intel Core M processor. It’s that this durable device comes with an “industry-first WiGig enterprise wireless dock” that points the way towards future wire-free computing.

WiGig is up to 50 times faster than Wi-Fi

You might not have heard of WiGig (Wireless Gigabit). The 802.11ad specification has its roots in 802.11 Wi-Fi technology, runs at 60GHz, and enables devices to connect to each other at speeds up to an amazing 7Gbps. To put things in perspective, that’s about 50 times faster than current 802.11n Wi-Fi speeds.

Plug peripherals such as HD displays, speakers, flash storage, printers and external hard drives into a multi-port WiGig docking station and a laptop like the HP Elite x2 1011 G1, with its Intel Tri-Band Wireless-AC 17265 chip, can auto-connect/disconnect to them wirelessly whenever it is in range.

Which means no more Ethernet, USB, HDMI or DisplayPort cables to fiddle with. No port replicators. No bulky plastic laptop docks. Just plunk the HP Elite x2 1011 G1 down on the desk and Intel’s pioneering WiGig solution automatically activates any connected peripherals so you can work (or play) in a desktop-style environment.

intel wigig dock
Meet Wireless Gigabit or WiGig, also known as 802.11ad. This is how it works.

“Wireless docking gives me wire-like performance without any of the wires,” says Keith Gilbreth of Intel’s PCCG Business Client Platform Division. “[It] enables seamless transitions between mobility and productivity.”

WiGig is just one part of Intel’s plan to make laptops wire-free

Of course, there’s a catch. WiGig isn’t a replacement for Wi-Fi and 802.11ad signals only allow for high-bandwidth data transfer at a limited distance (around 30 feet). Nevertheless, it supports up to two full HD displays and any USB 3.0 device that is WiGig-enabled or connected to a Wireless Gigabit docking station. Future laptops and tablet devices will ultimately come with WiGig technology built in.

Designed primarily for the office, WiGig is just one part of Intel’s plan to make laptops completely wire-free. The other is to introduce wireless charging technology based on the Rezence standard developed by the Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP). Intel’s next-generation Skylake processors will support this near-field resonant technology, enabling future laptops to charge without being plugged into the mains.

“We have overwhelming feedback from end users that they are frustrated with dealing with all the different wires and power adapters for their devices – phones, tablets & PCs,” said Sanjay Vora, Intel Vice President and General Manager of User Experience. “At Intel, we have a vision to eliminate all wires from all of our platforms.”

With the launch of the HP Elite x2 1011 G1, that vision is now being realised.

 

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