Wireless USB—the Next Video Data Channel?

Intel and partners are developing a specification that's primed to deliver real-time audio and video.

Following the formation of a consortium to develop wireless USB technology, Intel Corp. is providing more details about when a specification and the first products will arrive. The consortium, announced at Februarys Intel Developer Forum conference in San Francisco, is called the Wireless USB Promoter Group. Other members include Agere Systems, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, NEC, Philips Semiconductors and Samsung Electronics.

Wireless USB (WUSB) is intended to bring data rates comparable to USB 2.0s to tasks such as wirelessly trafficking multiple video and media streams between consumer electronics devices, PCs and peripherals. Its been characterized as a direct competitor to the Bluetooth wireless standard, but there are big performance differences, according to Jeff Ravencraft, Intel technology strategist and USB-IF chairman.

Ravencraft says the expected data rate of Wireless USB is 480M bps at a range of two meters and 110M bps at 10 meters. As with Wi-Fi technology, placing wireless USB devices farther apart will degrade performance. Current wired USB technology provides data rates of about 48M bps.

Wireless USB will be based on Ultra-Wideband (UWB) radio technology coming from the MultiBand OFDM Alliance (MBOA) and WiMedia Alliance, which are industry associations promoting next-generation wireless solutions.


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