One vision shared by the entire IT community is a world without wires–a world where all of our peripherals, speakers, video, backup, and external drives all operate sans wires. Wireless USB devices such as mice and keyboards paved the way for further thinking. First gen wireless read/write devices came to light around the early 2000s and have been building steam ever since. We are extremely close to having what I have always wanted and for it not to run at a snails pace! Long live Wireless USB!
Save Some Copper, Loose The Wires!
Wireless USB isn’t exactly a new technology. Work on it started way back in 2004 with the wireless technology designated as WiMedia’s Ultra Wide Band(UWB). It was capable of operating around the 3.1 – 10.6 Ghz frequency bands and had theoretical speeds of 480 Mbit/s at distances up to 3m, or 9.8 ft, and 110 Mbit/s at up to 10m, or 33 ft. Devices such as wireless storage drives were tested and few came to consumers. But this technology was restricted and the new version is looking to vastly improve.
With WiMedia transferring ownership and specifications to The USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) in 2009, work began on the new strain of Wireless USB. The new run at wireless USB is being dubbed Media Agnostic USB, or MA USB for short. This newly revamped technology was said to operate with 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz WiFi, the outdated UWB radio frequency, as well as their new specification of WiGig 60Ghz. WiGig 60Ghz, or technically the WiGig Serial Extension Specification, will be the base foundation of the Media Agnostic USB structure. It will be fully compliant with USB 2.0, USB 3 and its successors. The latest USb spec, 3.1 is slated at 10Gbps theoretical transfer speeds but at this time the USB-IF isn’t tipping their hand at what speeds we can expect from MA USB. It is looking to be at least a year before this technology hits storefronts and a while before we have an inkling of real world transfer speeds.
What does all of the above mean in words we can all understand? It means that in the near future, we will be able to purchase vastly improved wireless optical drives and hard drives. With the ability to move data at faster speeds and over a consistent medium, we will be able to set our wireless hard drive next to our computer, copy files to and from it, and then pack it up and go without ever having to worry about unplugging a thing. They are allowing the technology to be used in numerous applications, including open source work, so it is only a matter of time before our favorite wireless devices are adapting to the standard and subsequently making them more adaptable and faster than current technology. Slowly but surely, we will be removing all the wires one by one that we currently have to connect. First it was moving input devices (mouse, keyboards, etc.), then allowing transmission and receiving of networks, followed by wireless video and audio, and now onto USB.
With this technology on the horizon, we can start getting excited about wireless optical and external drives once again. We won’t have to move data at a dial up pace and will be free of the pesky wires. This will make for easy moving of pictures, videos, and documents between wireless USB computers and devices. The future is looking bright once again!
If you are a neat freak like me and are pumped about ridding your PC space of another wire, let us know in the comments below!