All About Wireless USB

Today at the Wireless USB Conference in San Jose California, Wireless USB 1.0 which is based on the WiMedia MAC Convergence Architecture was approved.

“As the developer of the ultra wideband technical specifications, the WiMedia Alliance will work together with the USB-IF to advance the industry toward rapid consumer adoption of the Wireless USB technology,” Kursat Kimyacioglu, vice president of the WiMedia Alliance told The NewsFactor.

At the conference, Alereon showed off a prototype that could transmit data at 480 megabits per second. I chatted with the company CEO Eric Broockman, and got the lowdown from him. I also learnt the man maintains a weblog, Life Without Wires.

Here are excerpts from that little chat….

OM: Eric, can you bring us up to speed on what is Ultra wideband? It gets a tad confusing, because UWB is used in context of many different applications.
Eric Broockman: It is easy to get confused. In short, UWB is any radio transmission that is 500 megahertz wide. Just like you have many flavors of broadcast radio – AM, FM and Satellite, you have many different forms of UWB.

UWB uses the 3.1 GHz to 10.6 GHz part of the wireless spectrum. FCC has so far approved 3.1 to 4.7 GHz for UWB in three swathes of 528 MHz. Right now US is the only country where UWB is legal but we are hopeful that by end of the year few more large economies will come online as well.

wireless landscape

OM: As a consumer, why should I really care? What does wireless USB do for me?
EB: Well it’s about convenience really. Consumers can connect cameras to printers without worrying about cables. There are many such applications.

OM: I have heard that is going to be used a way to stream video inside the home, and connecting say DVD players with flat screen televisions?
EB: We don’t think that really is the killer application for wireless USB. Its more of a cable replacement technology, and that’s a big enough market. I think for streaming video, the industry will gravitate towards 802.11n.

OM: When can we expect to see the products actually come to market?
EB: We expect production chips in the third quarter, and by early Christmas you can expect some products to come to market. It would be safe to say that 2006 is going to be breakthrough year for wireless USB.

wusb marketforecast

OM: Any more details you can offer?
EB: I think the initial products will come in the dongle/adapter form factors, but very quickly they will go under the hood.

Slides, courtesy Alereon