Updated Jul. 25, 2007 at 7:45 a.m.

Premium Lock Liberty from Wires? Lenovo, Dell Jump on Wireless USB Wave

Published: 2007-07-25 07:41:00
Updated: 2007-07-25 07:45:47

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Seal of approval for wireless USB Seal of approval for wireless USB
Tags: Dell, Lenovo

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. - Tired of all those cables running from your PC or laptop to various accessories ranging from printers to your digital camera?

The days of wireless liberty are coming.

Laptop models from Lenovo and Dell are among the first six products that have been certified to work with wireless USB (universal service bus) technology.

The news certainly was welcomed by Paul Gilster, longtime technology columnist and author of multiple books about Internet technology.

"Although I haven't seen what Lenovo is doing with wireless USB, I'm completely in favor of finding ways of eliminating the tangle of cords that afflict our desks,” Gilster said. “We've made so many strides in terms of processor speed and storage, but still have a long way to go in user ergonomics. Let me connect peripherals without cords and I'm starting to breathe easier already."

The Lenovo ThinkPad T61 and T61p 15.4-inch widescreen laptops and the Dell Inspiron 1720 include chip technology designed to free them from the need for wired links to USB peripherals such as printers.

Certification came from the USB Implementers Forum, which is based in Beaverton, Ore. The group also certified wireless USB hubs from D-Link and IOGear. Those two companies also unveiled wireless adapters that can be plugged into notebooks and PCs to enable them to use wireless USB technology.

Eventually it’s expected peripheral devices will also come with wireless USB chips, enabling a cable-free desktop.

The wireless USB group his setting standards for deployment of technology called “ultra-wideband” that can deliver data at up to speeds of 480 megabits per second at ranges up to 10 feet. Even at 30 feet, the speed is 110 megabits per second.

The USB Implementers Forum notes those speeds are much higher than those available through Bluetooth. The technology also uses less power than wireless fidelity (WiFi).

If you are interested in exploring this new technology, keep an eye out for a “Certified Wireless USB” logo on laptops or other devices.

The group’s Web site touts USB this way:

• “Certified Wireless USB is the first high-speed wireless personal interconnect technology to meet the needs of multimedia consumer electronics, PC peripherals, and mobile devices.
• “Certified Wireless USB will preserve the functionality of wired USB while also unwiring the cable connection and providing enhanced support for streaming media CE devices and peripherals.
• “Certified Wireless USB performance is targeted at 480Mbps at 3 meters and 110Mbps at 10 meters.”

Wireless USB also may be used to connect devices even if a PC is unavailable.

“As these portable devices increase in popularity, there is a growing need for them to communicate directly with each other when a PC is not available,” the USB Implementers Forum says on its Web site. “The On-The-Go Supplement addresses this need for mobile interconnectivity by allowing a USB peripheral to have the following enhancements:

• “Limited host capability to communicate with selected other USB peripherals
• “A small USB connector to fit the mobile form factor
• “Low power features to preserve battery life”

A world without wires draws ever closer. Now won’t that be spectacular....



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