Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Turning the crank on wireless USB

Both Alereon and Wisair hope to have silicon news about wireless USB based on word from the show floor at the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference this week. The news could contain first looks at chips that try to span two or more of the 3-10 GHz spectrum band groups dedicated to the ultrawideband technology in various parts of the globe.

I bumped into Jeff Ravencraft, Intel's man driving the initiative, while getting registered for the show. He was just back from Canada where he says regulators are "closing in" on an ultrawideband regulatory policy. China is still the big hold out. Europe is in, but the cellphone powers that be there will not deploy the first generation silicon that is coming out for the so-called Band Group 1 frequencies of 3.1-4.8 GHz because the chips might interfere with cellular traffic.

The big news in the W-USB community is that certification under the WiMedia Alliance is finally starting this week. It could take three weeks to get news back from the event about who got the official blessing for their physical and media-access layers. The USB Implementers Forum will follow up with a certification of the protocol layer that could show results about the same time. And by the end of July the USB-IF hopes to certify some hubs, the first end user products to pass interop inspections.

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