Universal Serial Bus (USB) was introduced in 1996, and it estimated that USB devices sell at the rate of two billion a year. The USB port has replaced the serial and parallel ports of old, and the range of devices which use USB is enormous. This year will see the first consumer devices to use USB 3 (SuperSpeed Bus) allowing transfer rates of up to 4.8 Gbit/s. This all sounds wonderful, but it is a wired technology, accompanied by the usual tangled cables. Well, up to the advent of wireless USB.
The specification for WUSB was competed in 2005, but has only been recently that the first WUSB-enabled devices have reached consumers. WUSB will enable devices to transfer data (110 Mbit/s) at distances up to 10m, although the optimum transfer rate of 480Mbit/s is effective only up to 3m. As the devices communicate directly with each other there is no need for a hub, although a Device Wire Adapter (DWA), sometimes referred to as a “WUSB hub”, allows existing USB 2.0 devices to be used wirelessly with a WUSB host.
The new technology will allow not only your desktop to be free of wires, but also for a laptop or digital camera to be connected to a WUSB HDMI interface on a HD TV. One manufacturer already has series of devices are tailored to deliver video from a computer to a screen, and up to the resolution of 720p, along with audio too over a similar distance.
Does this mean the end of Bluetooth? Possibly, although pundits have been talking of its demise for several years. The situation remains uncertain, with the major competitors to WUSB being WiMedia and UWB. As is often said, the nice thing about having an industry standard is that you have so many to chose from.