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  • By (Deleted User)

    Recently there has been a lot of press about upcoming "Wireless USB" products and solutions. I thought I'd provide a quick overview on what WUSB is, where it came from, and it's expected impact on current Wi-Fi solutions.

    First, there is a lot of great technical information concerning WUSB available here:

    http://www.usb.org/developers/wusb/

    In short, WUSB uses ultrawideband (UWB) RF technology to provide significant bandwidth to devices close to the WUSB "hub" or host. The radios used by WUSB operate in the 3.1 to 10.6 GHz range (7.5 Ghz spectrum) and use radio channels that are 528 MHz wide (depending on center frequency). The technology originates from IEEE 802.15.3-2003, originally addressed by the WiMedia Alliance, and now incorporates an alternate PHY under 802.15.3a.

    WUSB devices will be used to communicate in WPANs (wireless personal area networks), and be used for activities such as synching cellphones to PCs, streaming music from handhelds to stereo systems, sharing video between personal media player devices, and printing to local printers. All this will be done wirelessly and with relative ease. Think how you use USB devices today and extrapolate that to unwired devices. WUSB hosts (i.e. the "hub") will be capable of supporting up to 127 wirelessly connected devices. Typical bandwidth for these devices are dependent on their distance from the WUSB host. Certified Wireless USB performance is targeted at 480Mbps at 3 meters (10 ft) and 110Mbps at 10 meters (33 ft). WUSB radios will have an expected 300mW power rating when first released and are likely to decrease to 100mW soon after that.

    WUSB devices won't impact Wi-Fi 802.11b/g devices in the 2.4 GHz spectrum but they could certainly impact Wi-Fi 802.11a devices in the 5 GHZ spectrum if the WUSB host chooses a channel that overlaps a 5 GHz channel the .11a devices are using. This isn't necessarily a bad thing since it is expected the WUSB devices will check to see what channels are in use first and steer away from them, using an unused area of their spectrum (i.e. the radios will choose channels either higher or lower than ones that are currently being utilized by some other RF technology). This capability is called "Dynamic Frequency Selection" and is becoming quite common in wireless equipment.

    In summary, it will be interesting to see how the USB Implementers Forum, the WiMedia Alliance, and their supporting members (Intel, HP, Agere, Microsoft, Philips, etc.) market these new solutions and how they are integrated into new products.

    Joel

  • I can't wait. I plan on buying one so I can solder an external antenna connector on it, then see how far I can go and still get 480Mbps. :)

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