NICTA GiFi gets $1.4m to go to market

National ICT Australia (NICTA) has spun off the unit that has been researching gigabit Wi-Fi into a company called Nitero, and has won AU$1.4 million in funding to commercialise the technology.

Nitero was awarded the money as part of a round of funding for Australian inventions from Commercialisation Australia announced by Innovation Minister Kim Carr yesterday. According to documents accompanying the announcement, Nitero will use the funding to "obtain market validation" for the gigabit Wi-Fi chipset. NICTA has previously said that it aims to have the product on the shelves by next year.

The chip has been in development for the last five years by NICTA and the Victorian Research Laboratory. The low-power 60GHz chip could be up to 10 times faster than current Wi-Fi chips, achieving speeds of up to 5Gbps. It could potentially replace HDMI cables in the home or office, yet it could cost as little as AU$10.

"We have seen significant interest from the global electronics industry in our 60GHz solution to date," Patrick Kelly, CEO of Nitero said in a statement. "This substantial support by the Australian Government will allow us to continue to develop our product and bring the benefits of 60GHz to consumers worldwide."

Professor Stan Skafidas, the leader of NICTA's gigabit wireless research, said that the research effort had involved at least 10 PhD students over the years.

"NICTA had the foresight to see the importance of millimetre-wave gigabit wireless technology in 2004, and our success has put Australia on the global technology radar," he said. "I am grateful for the support the project has received from key players in the global semiconductor industry, such as Cadence Design Systems, Synopsys, Anritsu and Agilent Technologies, and the support it received from the State Government of Victoria."

A previous podcast interview with researcher Jerry Liu can be found here.

He said that the power consumption of the chip has been reduced so that it can be used in smartphones, which means that you could play games between smartphones or stream video from the device to the TV at a minimum of 1Gbps and a maximum of 6.5Gbps.


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