August 24, 2005 10:40 PM PDT

Intel takes aim at computer cable madness

SAN FRANCISCO--Intel announced two new initiatives Wednesday that could help computer users get rid of the "rat's nest" of cables behind their desks.

The chipmaker, which made the announcement during the Intel Developer Forum here, is one of several companies that have been trying to make the Wireless Universal Serial Bus specification more common to PCs and other consumer electronics. Similar to USB cables, the wireless version of the interconnect technology lets people easily connect a device with PCs and other gear.

Now in an effort intended to spur adoption of Wireless USB, Intel said it is working with Microsoft, NEC, Philips, Texas Instruments and others on a new specification called the Wireless Host Controller Interface (WHCI). The specification will define a standard method in which a Wireless USB device can communicate with a PC's software, and, executives hope, could accelerate industry development of interoperable Wireless USB products.

"The WHCI specification will let us bring out Wireless USB products that are interoperable in 2006," said John Howard, Intel's principal architect for certified Wireless USB.

The new specification will be compatible with the Ultra-Wideband (UWB) radio platform used in Wireless USB and developed by the WiMedia Alliance, a nonprofit industry group.

Ultra-Wideband lets people handle larger data transfers at 110 megabits per second between devices less than 32 feet from one other or 480Mbps speeds at about 10 feet. The technology could be a boon to adding more streaming media to consumer electronics devices and peripherals.

Intel also announced plans to open an interoperability laboratory at one of its offices where companies can test their products for compliance with the maturing specification.

There are more than 2 billion wired USB connections on the market today. The industry group said it hopes to migrate many of those devices and the majority of new ones to Wireless USB. Initially, Wireless USB is expected to be incorporated in silicon chips for use in add-in cards and dongles.

5 comments

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vs. Bluetooth?
Hmmm... Something to watch...
Posted by Mendz (519 comments )
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go Apple!
Great to see their relationship with Apple Computer is having a
positive influence!
Posted by (11 comments )
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Easy there fanboy..
The concept of a wireless USB protocol has been tossed around and experimented with for a while now. I'm pretty sure it has nothing to do with their relationship with Apple.
Posted by Kamokazi (40 comments )
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speeds too fast
110 Megabytes seems to be too fast. That is faster than most hard drives now communicate with the microprocessor because it can not handle that kind of speed. The article than states it can do 480 Megabytes at distance of up to 10 feet. At this speed everything should be wireless including the microprocessor. I would think that only dc power would have to be wired to the microprocessor and everything else including access to ram memory would be wireless. I would think that one could add another microprocessor like one now adds a hard drive so one could have maybe 4 or more microprocessors per computer.
Posted by RicktheBrick (7 comments )
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It's a typo
The first reference to "110 megabytes" is a typo, it should be "megabits."

If you look at the reference to "480 Mbps" that gives the clue the first reference is a typo, "Mbps" means megabits vs. megabytes.

So we're looking at over 13 megabytes at 32 feet, not too shabby.
Posted by (3 comments )
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