Posted by Eric Huang on November 19th, 2007
I agreed to do this blog because there is so little opinionated stuff debunking the debunkers of Wireless USB. Yes, I’m a USB chauvinist, and a Wireless USB chauvinist, but I understand how this stuff gets adopted and used. At least in my own mind.
USB Won, Certified Wireless will Win - So here’s the thing. The USB-IF has the best certification and interoperability program of all the standards I’ve seen. It has regular plug-fests for free testing, and 3rd party labs for fee-based testing. Procedures are clearly described, and there are gold tree tests with a range of USB devices. Does your wired Hi-Speed USB (USB 2.0) printer/camera/widget work with a standard PC or laptop? If it has the logo, it works. This is one of the main reasons USB 2.0 is so ubiquitous. Stuff with the USB Everything works together if it gets the logo. USB is the most successful because of that. CWUSB based on UWB will use the same infrastructure of spec, compliance, and logo.
I’ve seen material attacking Certified Wireless USB and UWB. Mostly based on the earliest product reviews. For those of us around at the start of USB 2.0, this is like Deja Vu (no accents, sorry don’t speak French). It’s true, the first UWB products are getting effective throughputs of 20 Megabits per second. But, what was the real throughput of WiFi products at the beginning? What are they now? How much to people actually use?
The EETimes published this article on higher throughputs with 60GHz radios and WiFi as potential alternatives to UWB at gigabit speeds.. http://www.eetimes.com/news/latest/showArticle.jhtml;jsessionid=W5B1LJS4T5R5SQSNDLSCKHA?articleID=202601507.
I also want a gigabit pipe into my house for $24.99 a month, but that ain’t happening.
60GHz is years away – Look, I’m super glad people are working on 60MHz, but beating out UWB? This is just plain crazy talk. 60GHz radios are 5-7 years away from any kind of adoption. It’s true that these could be used widely in proprietary solutions, like point-to-point video in the near future. And I’m sure there’s good technology. However, the standards will not be in place for at least 2 years which means interoperability is 4 years out, and mass market adoption is further out. (Sidenote: A friend of mine recently told me that they’ve been talking about 60GHz for 20 years)
802.11n here but interoperable? – And WiFi. WiFi is bigger than my ego. It’s everywhere. I used it in 8 locations on my last trip to
Europe. BUT, 802.11g’s maximum effective throughput is in the range of 20-25 Mbps. The 802.11n standard has gone for 3 years of pre-N and “Draft-N” products. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Draft-NI have yet to see interoperability throughput results for products based on different chipsets. If anyone can find this info please let me know. The most recent article I found here: http://www.engadget.com/2007/02/06/airport-extreme-802-11n-base-station-tested-and-dissected/ gives a throughput of 9 MB/second (about 72 Megabits/second) at short ranges and 500KB/second (~4 Megabits/second) at 300feet.
Netgear product tests out at an impressive 100+ Megabits/second http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2704,1978612,00.asp but I’m still concerned a bit with interoperability. Can I get 100 Mbps if the Draft-N chip in my laptop is different from the chip in the Router? In the early days of WiFi, I vaguely recall that you had to have an SMC router and an SMC PCMCIA card to make the darn things work together. (I set up Linksys routers for me, my mom/dad, and my sister in about 2002).
UWB and Wireless USB Resources
The start-up, Alereon, has some articles on UWB, Wireless USB, Regulations and other stuff. Check on the CEO’s blog. http://www.staccatocommunications.com/technology/articles.html This start-up, Staccato, more articles.