Two manufacturers of laptop PCs and two designers of wireless hubs and adapters are the first companies to receive consumer product certifications from the Universal Serial Bus Implementers Forum (USB-IF). The Certified Wireless USB products are expected to be in stores for the back-to-school and holiday gift season.
Previously certified silicon from Alereon, Intel Corp., NEC Corp., Realtek Corp., and WiQuest Communications are integrated into the products, according to the USB-IF.
The two laptop companies are Dell Computer for its Inspiron 1720 notebook and Lenovo for its ThinkPad T61/T61p 15.4-inch Widescreen Notebook. Networking companies D-Link and IOGear each had a wireless hub and also an adapter certified. Certification of the Wireless USB protocol by the USB-IF assures the interoperability of devices from a variety of manufacturers.
Certified Wireless USB is based on the WiMedia Alliance's Ultra-WideBand (UWB) common radio platform, which is capable of PHY-layer data rates of 480 Mbit/s at distances up to 3 meters and 110 Mbit/s at up to 10 meters.
From an engineering perspective, the question of co-existence with other wireless technologies in the 3 GHz band has been a persistent question for Wireless USB.
Dell and Lenovo have announced the first notebooks with embedded Certified Wireless USB chips - the Dell Inspiron 1720 and Lenovo ThinkPad T61and T62p. The laptops connect wirelessly to USB peripherals hooked up to Certified Wireless USB hubs such as those released by D-Link and IOGear. They will carry a Certified Wireless USB logo. In the interim, until peripherals catch up with the technology, they will need to be plugged into a wireless USB hub. This will allow the Dell and Lenovo laptops to communicate with a peripheral device such as a conventional printer plugged into the hub.
While doing some background sstudy of Wireless USB i came acrosss interesting information. Apparently there are two different Wireless USB standards that are being developed and they are not compatible with each other. More information aas follows:
Wireless USB (also known as Cablefree USB)
* Supported by UWB forum (pioneered by Freescale semiconductor)
* Uses DS-UWB (direct sequence)
* It mimics USB 2.0 in its interfaces to host and peripheral devices, handling the wireless issues within device adapters.
* This approach of retaining the USB 2.0 protocol means that developers can quickly offer products that users can simply plug in without making any system changes.
* Existing USB drivers will work
* The current Freescale UWB chipset operates at 114Mbps with a likely throughput of 50Mbps
Certified Wireless USB
* Supported by WiMedia alliance and USB-IF (USB Implementers Forum)
* Uses OFDM-UWB
* Certified Wireless USB employs a new communications protocol, similar but not identical to USB, to address the wireless issues.
* The Certified Wireless approach, on the other hand, required the definition of a new specification. The initial specification, which its developers released in May 2005, received a supplement defining the association's methods in March 2006. The specifications are now under the control of the USB-IF.
* Will need new software and USB drivers
* They operate at 480Mbps like USB 2.0 with probably similar throughput (peak 320Mbps)