Intel Predicts Wireless USB to Take Over Consumer Electronics

Wireless USB Revolution to Happen in 2 Years

by Anton Shilov
07/23/2004 | 02:37 AM

Intel Corp. disclosed some additional details regarding the forthcoming Wireless USB standard that will eventually replace conventional wired Universal Serial Bus. The technology, Intel said, will be used in PC, mobile and consumer electronics applications.


Wireless USB will support up to 480Mb/s transfer speed over 3-4 meters and up to 110Mb/s over 10 meters. The technology will sport certain security capabilities so not to let intruders to take over various devices and/or steal sensitive data. Additionally, wireless USB will inherit “sleep”, “listen” and “wake” functions of conventional Universal Serial Bus in order to enable power-saving features.

Wireless USB, or WUSB, will be based on the multi-band OFDM technology backed by an industry alliance that includes Intel. It also blends in the common UWB radio platform defined by the WiMedia alliance. The UWB and wireless USB specifications are in the early stages of definition. Systems using wireless USB are not expected to ship until sometime in 2005, according to earlier reports.

At Wireless Japan 2004 exhibition Intel said that the technology will not only be aimed at desktop PCs and mobile computers, but also will be aggressively promoted among consumer electronics makers.

The interconnect will include new streaming media enhancements to the existing wired USB spec. Proponents see the new specification as the first multimedia interconnect that could be broadly embraced by consumer and computer systems including PCs, digital cameras and camcorders and MP3 players.

Nowadays a lot of devices, such as mobile phones, PDAs, PCs, printers, cameras and even keyboards and mice utilize Bluetooth wireless connectivity for data transfer. A number of devices use some other wireless technologies for the same purposes. Some appliances require faster transfer speed than Bluetooth or other technologies are capable to provide and that is the marketplace for Wireless USB from Intel. With high-speed and flexibility Intel’s technology may be adopted all around the industry and become a tough rival for Bluetooth eventually.

Besides Bluetooth that is widely adopted these days, the Wireless USB will have to compete with forthcoming incarnations of Wireless LAN technology that also supports certain enhancements for multimedia.