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Wireless USB finally coming out of the labs

SAN JOSE, Calif. — With chip sets and single-chip solutions now being sampled, and the software drivers and utilities being qualified, wireless USB (WUSB) system hardware—WUSB hubs, host dongles and peripherals—won't be far behind.

The potential market for WUSB nodes is huge, with an estimated 11 million nodes in 2007 growing to over 300 million nodes by the year 2010 according to market research presented at the Certified WUSB developer's conference here by Jeff Ravencraft, the president and chairman of the USB Implementer's Forum.

The goal of WUSB is to eliminate the USB cable tethers that connect peripherals to their host computers, thus giving users the freedom to wirelessly connect to printers, cameras and many other peripherals at full USB 2.0 high-speed transfer rates of 480 Mbits/s.

To accomplish this, the WUSB solutions must be effortless, secure, and reliable, said Fred Bhesania, the lead program manager for WUSB at Microsoft Corp. Without these three aspects, user adoption will falter and return rates of hardware to the vendors will escalate since most potential users don't want to read set-up manuals and install drivers and step through complex set-up procedures. At Microsoft, drivers for Windows XP and the forthcoming Vista operating systems will provide seamless connectivity, with Beta copies of the drivers now available to IHVs (independent hardware vendors), stated Bhesania.

One of the thorniest issues with UWB has been getting the spectrum approvals in all countries to truly make WUSB a worldwide standard said Stephen Wood, president of the WiMedia Alliance. Now, thanks to efforts of the Alliance, consumer devices will soon interoperate as hundreds of industry players commit their resources to ensure interoperability.

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