Wireless USB has been on our radars and promising to cut that tangle of cables snaking from our computers for a few years now. However, we're still waiting for the standard to gain any traction.
Now though, the developers of the standard will be hoping that it gets a shot in the arm with the announcement that Wireless USB 1.1 has been finalised.
The major improvements to the specification are lower idle-power usage, improved power-efficiency and support for frequencies of 6GHz and higher. The revision also supports Near-Field Communication and proximity-based association. This means that devices can be paired simply by placing them next to each other, allowing for much easier set-up.
According to Jeff Ravencraft, USB-IF president, "consumers want a fast, easy-to-use solution to wirelessly transfer content from PCs to devices. Wireless USB 1.1 is the solution supporting robust, high-speed wireless connectivity among devices."
Wireless USB promises transfer speeds of 480Mbps - the same as USB 2.0 - over distances of up to 3m or 110Mbps over distances of up to 10m. However, the standard never really took off, with very few devices being released - and even fewer making it to these shores. Worse, few manufacturers integrated Wireless USB chips into any computers of peripherals, stunting the standards adoption.
Though the new spec may reinvigorate interest in Wireless USB, it now faces much stiffer competition than when it was first announced. WiFi is now capable of maximum speeds of 600Mbps, while Bluetooth has seen very wide adoption in low-power peripherals and mobile devices.