NICTA GiFi spin-off gets $1.43m in Federal funding

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NICTA GiFi spin-off gets $1.43m in Federal funding
NICTA's 60GHz GiFi chip.

But commercialisation plans remain under wraps.

NICTA’s US-based spin-off Nitero will continue working with vendors on a Gigabit wireless standard, after winning a $1.43 million grant from the Australian Government this week.

Nitero’s 60GHz ‘GiFi’ chip has been in development since 2004. It boasts audio and video transfer rates of 5 Gbps – 10 times that of today’s 5GHz 802.11n technology.

In February, NICTA researcher Jerry Liu said Nitero had been headquartered in the US to target the larger market, and would likely introduce a commercial product by 2012.

Nitero CEO Patrick Kelly told iTnews today that Australia was “definitely going to play a big role in commercialisation”, although he would not reveal details of funding and commercialisation plans.

Kelly also declined to comment on when a commercial product might emerge, noting that Nitero’s timing would be aligned with that of the Wireless Gigabit (WiGig) Alliance.

Due to non-disclosure agreements, Kelly could not name the vendors expected to use NICTA’s GiFi chip in PCs, tablets, smart phones, mass storage devices and displays.

Nitero’s fellow members of the WiGig Alliance included: Dell; Cisco; Intel; Microsoft; NEC; Nokia; Panasonic; Samsung; and Toshiba.

“We have seen significant interest from the global electronics industry in our 60GHz solution to date,” Kelly stated, describing the $1.43 million Commercialisation Australia grant as “substantial”.

Since the WiGig Alliance was also working with the IEEE on standardisation, Kelly hoped that Nitero would be a major contributor to a gigabit WiFi standard – as the CSIRO was to WiFi.

NICTA announced that the grant would fund efforts to reduce the size, power consumption and cost of the technology.

Lead researcher Stan Skafidas said the first version of the chip was “ready to go out” to partner vendors.

Next generations of the chip could provide rates of 15 to 25 Gbps using different frequency and modulation techniques, he said.

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