Wireless USB - coming to a keyboard near you

USB is probably the most ubiquitous form of input/output connector on a modern machine. Most modern motherboards come with ten of the 480mbps capable USB 2.0 version.

Now, the body behind the promotion of USB, which includes heavyweight players, such as Philips, Microsoft, HP, Intel, Samsung and NEC, are pushing forward the Wireless USB connection as the next big thing in small distance connectivity.

Wireless USB is competing against the likes of Zigbee, Bluetooth, Wifi and xMax, and if it succeeds, and there's no reason why it shouldn't, will be a massive improvement on what has been a rather patchy user wireless experience.

In a nutshell, the performance promised within a 3m range should match the 480mbps currently delivered by today's wired USB 2.0, decreasing to 110mbps over 10m. As a rough guide, throughput gets divided by five when distance is increased by a factor of three.

While Wireless USB won't offer power over USB like its wired counterpart, it will bring the kind of flexibility, availability and ubiquity that will get wired components out of view and condemned to the PS2 ports and wired USB to the cheapest systems. Moreover, more established players like Bluetooth will be seriously worried.

The price factor is still an issue but when Intel leads the way, with hundreds of firms following, you can be pretty sure that Wireless USB will not be confined to niche, expensive markets. The 480Mbps throughput could mean that one of the last mythical barriers in computing will be on its way out and wireless monitors on their way.


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