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USB goes wireless too

USB goes wireless too

Remember that time you brought home a brand-new printer, all excited, only to realize that you needed to take another trip to the store for a USB cable before you could connect it to your computer? In the near future, that will never happen--no, not because printer vendors have gone through a change of heart and started shipping their products with the USB cables.

Making a big buzz at WinHEC this year is a new technology called Wireless USB (WUSB), which has been under development for about three years and is slated for release later this year. As the name suggests, it's the current USB technology without the need for a USB cable. WUSB can operate at full USB 2.0 speed (480Mbps) within a 10-foot range--longer than the length of most standard USB cables--and up to 110Mbsp within a 30-foot range. At first, computers and legacy peripherals may be upgraded to WUSB with add-in cards and hubs. Going forward, most computers and devices will have this technology built in, just like USB 2.0 today. Fully backward compatible with wired USB, WUSB can connect a peripheral device to only one host at a time. It operates on the Ultra-wideband Common Radio Platform to ensure consistency and reduce interference with existing wireless platforms such as Wi-Fi. WUSB is expected to be implemented very quickly, thanks to broad industry support by the WiMedia Alliance, an open-industry trade association consisting of more than 200 companies. Microsoft is one of them, so Windows Vista will fully support WUSB.