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USB-IF Promoting Wireless USB

The USB Implementer’s Forum (USB-IF) took its show on the road to RetailVision, held here earlier this month, as part of its program to educate retailers on the upcoming launch of Wireless USB.

Wireless USB is based on the WiMedia architecture specification and will deliver data at 480MBps, more than enough bandwidth to transmit five HDTV video streams, said Jeff Ravencraft, an Intel engineer and president of the USB-IF. However, the data rate does drop off at longer ranges. At 10 meters throughput is 110MBps. The Wireless USB specification was made public in May and is expected to be accepted by the USB-IF later this year with the first products hitting stores early in 2006.

The specification also allows for the Wireless USB transmitter to handle Bluetooth. Ravencraft said enabling one transmitter to handle both networks without interference was a difficult technological hurdle to overcome, but with this ability USB Wireless can now communicate with a wide range of mobile products.

The first Wireless USB devices will be add-on modules that will plug into legacy USB ports. The next step is embedding the chipsets into PCs, then computer peripherals and finally consumer electronic products. Ravencraft said several CE makers are involved with the forum, and he expects to see televisions equipped with Wireless USB, although he did not know when this would happen.

Ravencraft said preparing retailers for Wireless USB is necessary because the technology needs its support, primarily advertising exposure, and its sales associates need to know what is coming down the pike.