To USB or Not to USB


Wireless USB Product Reviews, and Effective Throughput

The Price of CWUSB products.
As I recall WiFi pairs when they were introduced were $500 or more at their introduction back in before 1999? And that was when $500 was worth something.  I adopted WiFi in 2003 when the pairs cost about $230.  As I recall this is around the time 802.11b was introduced at a price premium in the laptop chipset.  You still needed to buy a router for $120 in those days.  How fast did the throughput those systems run?  Did we need to cut cables in 2000? 2003? Can we live without WiFi today?

$200 is a reasonable price for the first products.
I think the $200 price is reasonable for a first generation device, and for those people willing to accept early data rates and cut 4 cables (not just 1). The throughput isn’t what was hyped, but hey, Draft-N just got there after pre-N has been in the market for 2 years.  When will we see “N” products that interoperate at high speeds?  I see nothing in the press on this.  Isn’t that interesting? Did 802.11b ever achieve 12 Mbps?

Critics of Wireless USB are right.  There must be compelling uses. There must be “decent” throughput.  There must be ubiquity in some device.

BUT, WiFi was ratified in 1997.  CWUSB in 2005.  WiFi started at 12Mbps technology. CWUSB achieves 35Mbps today at 1/2 the price (dollars unadjusted).  My best guess is CWUSB will be at 3x-5x these speeds within 2 years.

Effective Throughput
Lots of questions still on the internet regarding the Effective Throughput of Certified Wireless USB.  I think the article Is Ultrawideband still a viable wireless technology? gives an even-handed review pointing out the technical problems. 
It seems like all the companies with UWB products claim higher throughputs than the current products on the market.  I’m not sure why this data isn’t more publically published.  Alereon’s CEO talks about the performance of Native Devices in his blog.  (A Native device doesn’t use Wired USB.  On your Laptop this means it’s an ExpressCard or integrated into a chipset. )  Alereon observes speeds in excess of 125 Mbps and expects faster speeds by CES 2008. 

Eric is right on his blog.  Native devices will go faster.  We’ve achieved comparable native speeds in our lab with our own IP, but that is a topic for another entry.

I’m looking forward to the WiMedia UWB Technology – A Reality where I’m hoping more companies will demonstrate better throughput.  It’s free in Santa Clara on December 6, 2007.

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