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Wisair plans wireless USB dongles

Wisair plans wireless USB dongles

Despite being promised for several years, wireless USB is still a rarity - but Wisair is hoping to change all that.

If you've been wondering just what happened to the wireless USB technology that was going to revolutionise all our lives a few years back, talk to Wisair: the company is helping Fujitsu and Olidata show off some neat wire-free devices at CeBIT.

According to I4U, the devices the two companies will be unveiling are set to use Wisair's WSR601 single-chip USB-over-wireless technology, which promises full USB2.0 speed without the wires. This does mean, however, that any devices using the tech have to be self-powered as sending electricity over even short distances without wiring is a trifle problematic, Tesla's research notwithstanding.

Fujitsu and Olidata's first forays into the world of wireless USB are expected to come in the form of USB converter dongles, which Wisair claims will allow “existing wired USB devices – such as hard disk drives, printers, digital still cameras, camcorders and CD/DVD – into Wireless USB devices.” Although the company has been a bit coy on technical specs for its particular implementation of wireless USB, the company does claim that the range will be good enough to avoid “the limitations of USB cable length” although doesn't go so far as claiming they will work outside of the same room as the host PC.

This isn't the first time we've been promised working, affordable wireless USB: way back in 2005 we were promised devices “as soon as year end.” Despite the news in 2007 – rather later than planned – that six products had received official Wireless USB certification from the USB-IF board, the technology is still something people are unlikely to encounter in the wild. Perhaps this time the standard might actually take off – just in time to be outmoded by USB 3.0.

Do you think that wireless USB is still holds promise, or is the lack of power provision a major killer for the standard? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

6 Comments

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Skiddywinks 3rd March 2009, 11:41 Quote
I can see it being popular, and having a strong user base. Sure, it will be outdated very quickly, but mainstream is never at the cutting edge. Devices will have to catch up to USB3 speeds anyway (hell, a lot don't even max out USB2), so I see plenty of life for wireless USB2.
mclean007 3rd March 2009, 13:09 Quote
Wireless USB (or one of its alternatives) definitely will have a place - as Skiddywinks says, not all USB devices need the huge bandwidth that USB 3 will offer - things like keyboards, mice, even printers don't need it. I think it would be great to have a wireless keyboard and mouse with no need for a USB dongle, a wireless printer, wireless synchronisation of portable devices (mp3 player, phone, digital camera etc.) with no need for a Bluetooth dongle (and at much higher speeds than Bluetooth can manage!). Then you would just use the USB ports for legacy support, charging portable devices (those that charge over USB, which *should* be all of them, but that's another issue) and for high bandwidth devices like portable HDDs, flash drives (could work wirelessly but would need a battery so probably not worthwhile for most people), big transfers from cameras and camcorders.
Cupboard 3rd March 2009, 20:13 Quote
Here sits me with my skeptical hat on - everything needs a wire anyway for power so what is the problem having another one for data? What would be more interested in is powerline USB, like the powerline networking you can get. It would seem to be more practical to me and certainly gets over the main range limitation.

With regards to phone syncing over Wireless USB, there is little to no point, as phones need to be plugged in anyway and can already sync over bluetooth and wifi and you rarely need super high speeds anyway.
ParaHelix.org 4th March 2009, 15:57 Quote
I can see single USB units been popular for devices such as USB printers, external hard drives, USB webcams, etc. This is a good idea which has been out there a long time, about time there was some decent implementation.
Perforated 4th March 2009, 21:44 Quote
Given how many phones already have wifi in, and how little the wireless dongle for my mouse/keyboard bother me, I'm in the nonplussed camp... if anything, having my wireless mouse dongle is handy, it means I can keep it attached to the hub on the desk getting a better signal than being in the PC, which is far away through several sheets of MDF and plywood.

My phone transfers over datacable anyway - i have bluetooth & so-on, but the cable charges it at the same time, so... it wins. Plugging in is actually less hassle to me than entering a 4-digit pin or whatever to allow syncing. Hardwire connections still have a place for me, as soon as USB storage goes wireless I just have ANOTHER pin to worry about. Knowing that my data's secure just be being able to see the actual location of the device is an underrated comfort.

Printers and so-on... ok, sure, that's handy enough. Storage, mice & keyboards are already adequately connected for my purposes.
DXR_13KE 5th March 2009, 22:56 Quote
bluetooth has already consumed that market slice.
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