The Associated Press reported today that microchip developer Alereon Inc. has come up with the first legal chip that can operate a wireless USB. This technology is not new. The difference is this chip’s radio frequencies are legal because there is no potential to interfere with radar.
According to the Associated Press, Mike Krell, spokesperson for Alereon, feels the chips could start showing up later this year in external devices such as cameras and external hard drives. They would be connected to the computer with dongles inserted into the USB ports or wireless add-in cards.
Steve Wilson, an analyst at ABI Research was quoted as saying, “Assuming that they do it right and it works, it’s going to be a pretty powerful technology for interconnecting devices.”
The technology behind this is UWB, or ultra-wideband. In researching UWB, Wikipedia explained best. The idea is to send pulses of data using a broader range of the bandwidth. Therefore the information can be sent at an accelerated rate, meaning faster data transfer. “Due to the extremely low emission levels currently allowed by regulatory agencies, UWB systems tend to be short-range and indoors,” according to Wikipedia information.
The Associated Press reported that this technology uses a different frequency than cell phones, Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. It goes above those airwaves into uncharted territory. The results would be faster transfers, less power used, with a signal that may reach 30 feet.
According to the Associated Press, Krell expects the AL4000 to be on the market within 2 months. Standard USB cables would connect peripherals such as monitors or keyboards, to a central hub. The hub would, in turn, transfer data wirelessly through a dongle on the computer. In other words, the tower could be in the family room with the flat screen, keyboard and mouse at the kitchen table during homework time.
There is no indication on the price of this new product. According to the Associated Press, Belkin Corp. sells a hub similar in concept for $200.
A statement from Mike Foley, the director of the Bluetooth Special Interest Group said, “Availability of WiMedia hardware this early in the market supports the planned introduction of High Speed Bluetooth technology in 2008 that operates in the unlicensed spectrum about 6 GHz,” according to the Associated Press.
Alereon’s chip, the AL5000 gets up to 10.6GHz, according to the Associated Press.
Source: The Associated Press, Peter Svensson; Alereon to Release New Wireless USB Chip, http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/W/WIRELESS_USB?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2007-06-18-07-50-56