With 802.11n the wireless standard of choice, the market is already gearing up for the deployment of its successor, 802.11ac. Not that Nitero — a company spun off Australia's ICT research hub NICTA — cares that much: it's just announced a chip based on 802.11ad, aimed at low-power devices such as smartphones and tablets.
Called the NT4600, the silicon promises to deliver speeds of up to 4.6Gb/s and the ability to stream "low-latency 4K". What separates it from competitors is its small energy footprint, which is reported 10 times less than "PC 802.11ad solutions". Nitero puts this down to Samsung's 28nm RF manufacturing process, specifically created for integrating radio-frequency capabilities into chip designs.
The company's press release focuses on the multimedia benefits of the technology — including playing games — without having to worry so much about sucking the life out of your mobile device's battery:
"Today's smartphones and tablets have incredible processing and graphical power. However, these capabilities are bottled up due to the lack of robust wireless display connectivity," said [Nitero CEO Pat Kelly]. "60G allows our phones to reach their full potential, without requiring a power cord to keep the battery alive. With the NT4600, I can walk around a conference room while my smartphone drives a presentation at the office. Once home, it can wirelessly connect to my 4K TV to play the latest first person shooter without having to be recharged."
Unfortunately, we won't start seeing devices using the chip until 2015, at the earliest, when Nitero plans to start production shipments. Even with the delay, it makes you wonder if 802.11ac will be old news before it reaches mass-adoption.