Computer standards take forever to get ratified. There’s the conception, meetings, trialling, arguing, re-conception, meetings, trialling, arguing… Probably the biggest one the world is waiting on right now is 802.11n (the follow-up to 802.11g) which promises wireless speeds of up to 135Mbps; but there is another, less hyped standard that should beat it to market and could prove even more useful: Wireless USB.
The news is the official spec for this standard is now complete (it was approved at the San Jose, California based Wireless USB Conference yesterday). Certification, logo licensing, marketing, etc still needs to be done, but the biggest hurdle has been jumped and promoters are claiming we will see the first wireless USB devices before the end of the year.
Now let me get explain why this is such a good thing. Wireless USB, or WUSB (to give it its proper acronym), is a standard that could finally do away with that mountain of cabling spaghetti we have behind our computers. It is massively backed (see above) and promises to connect USB devices to computers (you guessed it) without wires. Now don’t skip over this – think about it for a minute: printers, cameras, scanners, mice, memory keys, routers, ad infinitum WITHOUT wires. We’re talking practical and cosmetic bliss.
How WUSB does this is via Ultra Wideband (yes, UWB for short), a technology classified as “any radio transmission that is 500 megahertz wide”. The science behind this get extremely complicated, but what is important here is that there are already WUSB prototypes that use UWB to transmit data at over 480Mbps (fast enough to cover USB2.0).
With the news yesterday, WUSB proponents are predicting we will see production chips in the third quarter with the first products to market by Christmas. WUSB will be backwards compatible with existing USB1.1 and 2.0 connections, so a roaring trade in dongle/adapter form factors (above) is expected during 2006.
I, for one, cannot wait to start binning cables left, right and centre.