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Multiple GHz of internationally available, unlicensed spectrum surrounding the 60 GHz carrier frequency has the ability to accommodate high-throughput wireless communications. While the size and availability of this free spectrum make it very attractive for wireless applications, 60 GHz implementations must overcome many challenges. For example, the high attenuation and directional nature of the 60 GHz wireless channel as well as limited gain amplifiers and excessive phase noise in 60 GHz transceivers are explicit implementation difficulties. The challenges associated with this channel motivate commercial deployment of short-range wireless local area networks, wireless personal area networks, and vehicular networks. In this paper we detail design tradeoffs for algorithms in the 60 GHz physical layer including modulation, equalization, and space-time processing. The discussion is enhanced by considering the limitations in circuit design, characteristics of the effective wireless channel (including antennas), and performance requirements to support current and next generation 60 GHz wireless communication applications.