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Wireless Networking Hardware Technology

USB Going Wireless 237

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the sick-of-all-these-wires-anyway dept.
NathanJ writes "Device Forge is running a technical whitepaper on wireless USB. The article states that 'Already there has been some progress with the definition of a WUSB specification with a targeted bandwidth of 480 Mbps. This specification maintains the same usage and architecture as wired USB with a high-speed host-to-device connection.' And that 'the WUSB host can logically connect 127 WUSB devices.' So what am I going to do with my Bluetooth desktop?" Update Holy Deja vu batman... here is an earlier Slashdot article that I missed from 3 weeks ago. Oops.
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USB Going Wireless

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  • by dokebi (624663) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @03:04PM (#8873030)
    Put it in the trash of course. Another victim of early adoption.
    • by Kenja (541830) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @03:06PM (#8873052)
      "Put it in the trash of course. Another victim of early adoption."

      Whats a "bluetooth desktop"? I've got a desktop with a bluetooth adaptor in it. Even should it magicly stop working when wireless USB comes out the adaptor only cost me 14$, so its not that big a loss.

      • "Wireless desktop" is the term for a combination of wireless keyboard and wireless mouse. A "Bluetooth desktop" is a package that contains a bluetooth keyboard and a bluetooth mouse.

        It's really just a marketing phrase.
    • I'd keep it (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Valdrax (32670) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @03:09PM (#8873117)
      Does USB still have the limitation of dividing the bus' time evenly between all devices regardless of how much bandwidth they're using? I remember that that was one of the arguments in the USB 2.0 / Firewire flamewars.

      If so, I'd keep my keyboard and mouse off the bus. Besides, there's no reason to throw away working hardware.
      • Re:I'd keep it (Score:2, Informative)

        by gnuman99 (746007)
        Does USB still have the limitation of dividing the bus' time evenly between all devices regardless of how much bandwidth they're using?

        No. This did not happen for longest time. There is a reason for isochronous transfers where bandwidth is important. They have priority over bulk transfers where bandwidth is just secondary.

        Of course most of the high bandwidth devices use Bulk transfers because of automatic error correction (ie. retransmission).

    • by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Thursday April 15, 2004 @03:14PM (#8873179) Homepage
      Nope.

      I don't see it that way. Bluetooth is a great technology. It's slow speed do limit it's applications, but for you mouse and your keyboard and syncing up your cell phone and such, it works great and there is no reason to replace it. It is also low power, isn't it?

      WUSB on the other hand is FAST. It seems like a waste to use it for a keyboard or mouse. That said, it will work great in those areas where BT is too slow. Wouldn't it be great to set your iPod next to your laptop and have it sync up all the songs in a few seconds? Or to print wirelessly (BT does this, but if you wanted to print a photo it would be slooooooowwwwww). Want a new hard drive? Set it next to your computer and it works. Same thing with that new camera you got that has WUSB. Just keep it near your PC and you can get your pictures with no wires. How about a wireless soundcard? Or even a (he he he) wireless USB wireless network adaptor! The idea of having a flash key thing built into your watch is nice, but imagine if it was WUSB! Just walk up to any computer and thanks to WUSB you have access to the files that are on your wrist without any cables or anything else (after a password for security or something, of course).

      And because WUSB supports limited P2P stuff (IIRC), you could move your iPod next to your WUSB hard drive and have them sync without the computer (after all, all the data is in the iTunes database files) or have your camera download the pictures to your hard drive, or print your pictures without a computer or wires. For things needing high bandwidth, WUSB is the way to go. For many other things, BT is still great.

      Now you can find many of those things I listed above with BT right now. There are BT printers, a BT camera,, and more. But while BT works for low bandwidth things, trying to move pictures from a camera to your PC through BT is supposed to be agonizingly slow. I wouldn't want to print 5MP photos over BT either.

      I think there is room for both. It's if BT speeds up fast enough in time that we could be in for a fight. Otherwise I think they serve different enough markets that things will be OK.

      • Could you please inform me on this one?

        Isn't this going to be a security problem (just like the UPNP network device stuff)? Of course, perhaps Bluetooth has the same problems, I really don;t know, but it seems - especially for the high speed products - that the 'it just works' functionality of USB would be a security issue once it's gone wireless.

      • Do Bluetooth input devices really work perfectly, though? I have never actually bought one but that is mainly due to the fact that I have no need and don't need heavy batteries to replace or recharge. It has always been a concern of mine that the latency of Bluetooth would be a major issue however. With most all computers having multiple USB buses nowadays, anyway, there is no reason this shouldn't be continued with WUSB to prevent latency and bandwidth issues.

        Ultimately, I think the biggest concern is in

      • you could move your iPod next to your WUSB hard drive and have them sync without the computer

        Yeah, I can just see Apple putting WUSB in the iPod RIGHT NOW.
      • > WUSB on the other hand is FAST. It seems like a waste to use it for a keyboard or mouse.

        If it's anything like wired USB, it can be slow or fast depending on the device. Wired USB mice and keyboard don't use the 480 Mbps mode either.
      • by bechthros (714240) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @04:15PM (#8874108) Homepage Journal
        OK, I've got a (hypothetical) PC with WUSB printer, external hard drive, MP3 player, MIDI controller, and mouse. The only thing is, so does my roommate, and his is 2 feet from mine. So, it seems like either there must be some sort of setup involved (like telling the device which PC it's looking for) in which case the just-plug-it-in-and-it-works aspect of USB is negated, or else you're in for lots of high-speed device conflicts.

        And on the tinfoil-hat tip, what's to keep Uncle Sam from driving by on the street with a WUSB equipped laptop and scanning all my files on that WUSB external drive? If my cable modem is WUSB, what's to keep the govt from just watching
        everything I do online ever?

        And why, if I might ask, is this necessary? Is the 2 seconds you spend pluggin the cord into the device really that important? Is it really that hard to plug the thumbdrive into an actual USB slot? I mean, we don't complain about plugging our headphones into our walkmans. You plug them in, it takes .5 seconds and then you're done. With the above multiple-device/multiple-PC scenario, it seems like it might be considerably more trouble to configure the devices themselves then to just plug 'em in and not worry about it. Are we really that lazy? Do we really need wireless *everything*?
      • by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @04:25PM (#8874304) Journal
        I don't see it that way. Bluetooth is a great technology. It's slow speed do limit it's applications, but for you mouse and your keyboard and syncing up your cell phone and such, it works great and there is no reason to replace it. It is also low power, isn't it?

        Bluetooth is heavily targeted toward telephony applications.

        One thing that "IP guys" are constantly missing the importance of is the need to deal with timing in streaming applications. (The telephone people missed it too, when they initially went digital, and spent decades fixing it up after the fact. Their latest generation - SONET - is orgznized around clocking. "Synchronous" is even the first word in the acronym.)

        Basic idea is that, when you're sending a real-time stream at a constant sample rate, if you have a common timing reference at the transmitter and receiver things are a LOT simpler than if you have to infer the timing of the transmitter at the receiver. Doesn't matter if you propagate it with the signal or both ends get it from a common source by some complicated path - just get them clocked alike to make the endpoints' jobs enormously easier.

        Voice signals, for instance, play out fine if the clocks at the two ends are synchronized, but have annoying clicks if not. These clicks can be cleaned up by adding heavy processing - which trashes FAX and high-speed modem signals. But that means adding a DSP (or equivalent computation) for uncompressed signals, or extra DSP work if you already having one doing compression. This takes power, at a premium in portable applications, and extra (or faster) silicon, which can raise costs. And even then the result is usually not as good as if the clocks were synchronized in the first place.

        Phone companies synchronize nearly everything in their networks to a common clock, especially the 8,000/second sample rate of the A-to-D conversion of the voice signals, and distribute digitized voice (when uncompressed) as 64 kbit signals (8,000 8-bit samples per second.)

        Bluetooth is organized around this. Time is broken up into 16,000 slots per second, with the master and the slaves taking turns - 8,000/second each. (What a conincidence that it's the voice sampling rate, eh?) The master sets the timing. The number of active slaves is limited, but a slave can extend the net to more active devices by becoming the master of a subnet. This makes little sense for net organization, but perfect sense if the slave is propagating timing from the master. Channel allocation within the net includes a fat general-purpose data channel plus three constant-rate bidirectional 64Kbit channels. (I.e. three phone calls.) A slave can participate in two separate nets - and can terminate all three 64K channels if in one net, or two of 'em if one is from each.

        What this means is bluetooth is perfect for things like wireless headsets for cellphones. The cellphone provides a clock to the headset to set its sample rate, and the headset sends and plays out uncompressed audio. So the headset requires no DSP, little silicon, and little power. (The Bluetooth modulation scheme also makes for a simple, low-power, DSP-free radio.) The cellphone already has a DSP for compressing audio on its way to/from the net. It can in principle propagate network clocking to the handset, making things better end-to-end. Or it can just use its local clocking to make headset/DSP communication easier.

        So Bluetooth makes design of cellphone audio peripherals nice. Cheaper, lower power, longer battery life, lighter weight, compared to any of the other schemes which don't propagate a phone-network or piconet-local timebase accessable beyond the network stack and/or require heavy DSP processing to work at all. Thus it's unlikely cellphones will be moving away from it any time soon - and when they do they'll probably move to something else that also propagates clocking. Since bluetooth can also handle a moderately-fast data link for WAN traffic, you get wireless internet connection throu
      • WUSB on the other hand is FAST. It seems like a waste to use it for a keyboard or mouse.

        Ahh, but usb support of mice and keyboards is a well known standard (hid). You need very little to get it working with today's drivers.

    • You don't know what bluetooth is, do you? It's to replace small, low-bandwidth wires that clutter desktops, and cheap enough to integrate into almost any electronics, without raising prices much. Mice and keyboards are two of devices bluetooth was made for. Headphones and microphones are two more. All the wires for those devices can be replaced by a small adapter that costs just a few dollars.

      Just because it's wireless, don't think it's the same as other wireless busses. Just the same that wireless LA

  • by prostoalex (308614) * on Thursday April 15, 2004 @03:04PM (#8873032) Homepage Journal
    here [slashdot.org]

    Oh, wait, it's the same one.

    • Update Holy Deja vu batman... here is an earlier Slashdot article that I missed from 3 weeks ago. Oops.

      A slashdot editor actually copping to posting a dupe? I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm heading for my bunker -- the end is near!

  • Low Power (Score:3, Interesting)

    by satterth (464480) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @03:05PM (#8873035) Homepage Journal
    Bluetooth will still live on in the Low Power applications.
    • Re:Low Power (Score:3, Insightful)

      by LostCluster (625375) *
      We've got Bluetooth at low power, WiFi for distance applications... where's WUSB supposed to fit in?
      • High bandwidth and local. BT is slow, and WiFi isn't good for having tons of things in the same area.

        Besides, BT and WUSB are for peripherals, WiFi is for networking. I don't like the idea of putting WiFi in every camera, home printer, etc just so it can be wireless. Those are the kind of applications that are just screaming for WUSB.

        WiFi should be for inter-computer networking and nothing else IMHO (note: TiVos and such count as computers, becasue they aren't peripherals).

        • WUSB might be intended for peripherals, but I can see some Linux hacker implementing TCP over WUSB within a couple of weeks of the hardware being generally available. (I mean, why not?? It's faster!)
      • Re:Low Power (Score:5, Insightful)

        by MoonBuggy (611105) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @03:29PM (#8873378) Journal
        Low range, high speed. It's damn irritating having cable spaghetti for all my current USB devices, locating the appropriate connector for device X, Y or Z when I need to attach it and then realising that I need to unplug device A to make space for whatever I just located the cable for.

        Bluetooth is too slow for many USB applications. Keyboard and mouse, yes, but even synching my PDA over BT is irritating especially if I want to backup the 128MB memory card. WiFi in my digital camera is unneccesary and if I had a decent cam (which I will probably purchase when I actually have some cash) I don't want to have to transfer 1GB+ of high resolution images over a 54Mbit connection.

        WUSB is not an essentia protocol I admit, but it sounds like it will be damn convenient.
        • I don't want to have to transfer 1GB+ of high resolution images over a 54Mbit connection.

          WUSB wouldn't really be suitable for a camera.

          • 54Mbits is Damn fast, you could send that whole 1gig CF card in 2.52Min. Most Hard-Drives max out at around 200Mbits, and I doubt if many CF drives can read at more than 80Mbits. By the time WUSB is out I imagine a 200+Mbit/s 802.11 standard will be around
          • the article says it uses 300mW, that's considerably more than current low power 802.11g chips [80211gnews.com] at 200mW. Bluetooth c
  • by c4Ff3In3 4ddiC+ (661808) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @03:05PM (#8873039)
    on Off The Hook [2600.com] a while back. They were concerned because the name and address of the radio's website is WUSB [wusb.org].
  • what makes this different than bluetooth, and what really are the benefits of wireless keyboards and mice and stuff anyway? Sure, I can sit far away from the computer, but then i cannot see to read the monitor.
    • Bandwidth...

      For example, if you wanted a wireless USB network cable, you'd have a higher transfer rate than if you were using a bluetooth network cable.

      Oh.. wait...
    • I use my wireless keyboard when I have to do keyboard requiring stuff on my PVR - it is hidden away in a cabinet and it is much easier to pull the keyboard out of a drawer on my coffee table, than it would be to open up the cabinet and fish around for a wired keyboard.

      The display is my TV of course, which is far away from the computer so if I were close to the computer I would not be close to the display.
  • Early?! (Score:2, Insightful)

    I think we gave them enough of a chance! C'mon, enough is enough....specifications dont matter if there's no product suppor....
  • by JaxWeb (715417)
    I don't think this is the product for me... I plug in my MP3 player, Digital Camera, Scanner, Printer and Bluetooth Gizmo in from USB (My keyboard is also a mini-USB hub). None of those really have to be a distance from my Computer.

    There are already solutions for people who want their Keyboard or Printer a distance away from their computers without wires. What would make these people use this solution?
    • by Morgahastu (522162) <`eman sdnab evaf ... egorREZEEW' `ta'> on Thursday April 15, 2004 @03:11PM (#8873128) Journal
      It's not about distance and keeping your peripherals far away, it's about not having any wires. I'd rather just plop my mp3 player on my desk and have it sync then have to plug it in and find an empty usb port or buy a usb hub to plug it in.

      I look at the back of my desk and it makes me cry to see the mess of wires and all the different cables I have for all my devices.

      Wireless USB would be a godsend. See my other post regarding why I think bluetooth sucks [slashdot.org]
      • Absolutely (Score:2, Interesting)

        by 2names (531755)
        but then, how do you recharge it? My USB devices recharge when I wire them up, will WUSB be able to (eventually) do the same?
        • Re:Absolutely (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Morgahastu (522162)
          USB devices that get charged from the USB power are a minority. And if we had wireless power then alot of the worlds problem would be solved ;)

          But it raises another issue, why can't we have standard power adapters? Why can't someone make a universal power adapter that adjusts power output for the specific device? BAH
      • it's about not having any wires.

        Despite all this attention about wireless, one still has to have at least one wire: a power cord for recharging. Some manufacturers were smart enough to make the same wire carry data and recharge power, so that seems to negate the need for wireless.

        Hopefully manufacturers learn from wireless "b" and bluetooth that communications be properly encrypted.
  • by Enze6997 (741393) * on Thursday April 15, 2004 @03:06PM (#8873053)
    Were one step closer to Cartmans Trapper Keeper!
  • Distance? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pholower (739868) <(longwoodtrail) (at) (yahoo.com)> on Thursday April 15, 2004 @03:06PM (#8873059) Homepage Journal
    I read through the paper, but I don't remember seeing anything about how far the transmission would go. If it is being compared to bluetooth, is it 30 feet. Or is this something that could also take over WiFi and go hundreds of feet? I would love to have a home network with a +400Mbps bandwidth.
    • Block quoth the article:

      The specification is intended for WUSB to operate as a wire replacement with targeted usage models for cluster connectivity to the host and device-to-device connectivity at less than 10 meters.

  • Powered? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MalaclypseTheYounger (726934) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @03:06PM (#8873067) Journal
    Uh, one of the reasons I like USB is that it's a POWERED connection. Are we going to be sending energy through wireless connections with this WUSB somehow? And how much lead suit protection do I need to wear to not grow a third eye or extra thumbs when using it?
    • /me installs the Wireless Power Distribution unit in the living room. Hope the cat doesn't go near the giant Tesla Coil arc!
    • one of the things I like about Wireless USB is that there are no wires.
    • While many devices use powered USB or an alternate source (such as my digital camera, which will use USB power or battery power as convenient), others (such as my webcam/scanner) are powered only by USB. In this case, I'd say that you'd probably be looking at a powered USB hub - which could be detached from the computer but would still need to plug into your devices and/or have a wall plug and/or batteries.
  • Answer: (Score:2, Troll)

    by BJZQ8 (644168)
    Abandon it. Bluetooth was too little, too soon. Where tech executives saw people exchanging business cards with their PDA's, the real world saw a wireless connection with a range of 3 feet and a mere kilobits of bandwidth. I think it was more of a prolonged back-patting session for "Bluetooth Special Interest Group" members and less of a means of providing function to the customer.
    • Re:Answer: (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Goth Biker Babe (311502) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @03:50PM (#8873667) Homepage Journal
      Bluetooth is well established in Europe so I don't see it disappearing all that soon.

      I'm writing this on my laptop using WiFi to connect to my broadband net connection. Last weekend I stayed with my parents and used the same laptop via a bluetooth dongle and GPRS on my mobile phone.

      I use bluetooth to sync that phone with the laptop and to transfer photos from the phone to the laptop.

      On the drive home I noted many other drivers with bluetooth headsets on their ears. If I meet someone we exchange contact details via bluetooth. My housemate controls the MP3 player on her iBook from her phone using Bluetooth. I sync my phone to my PDA via Bluetooth.

      I can see the usefulness of a high speed Bluetooth like system but there are applications that just don't need a faster connection and for them Bluetooth works just fine. Also, I'm not sure about the US, but in Europe it seems that Joe/Josephine Public have picked it up just fine and it's not restricted to geeks.

      I can see
  • Ummm... not quite (Score:5, Interesting)

    by merlin_jim (302773) <James.McCracken@ ... .com minus punct> on Thursday April 15, 2004 @03:07PM (#8873082)
    This specification maintains the same usage and architecture as wired USB

    Well unless they've been reading a ton of Tesla, I would call it the same usage or architecture as wired USB. Because USB is not only data but power, and AFAIK, wireless power distribution is neither a commodity technology nor tested to be safe in close quarters with humans...

    The impact is that now I will have to turn devices on and off, worry about batteries, and power cords. Best case is everything gets (expensive) AAAs. Worst case is everything gets a power cord. If I'm using wireless USB, why would I want a power cord? I mean I'm not too keen on trading plugging in one thing for plugging in another.

    And I've used wireless mice. They become erratic way before the batteries die. I like my HIDs to be precise and reliable, thank you very much...
    • If I'm using wireless USB, why would I want a power cord?

      Power outlets are ubiquitous. If you run low, you can always add another power strip. A cheap extension cord takes care of distance. On the other hand, running a 50' USB cable is a pain in the ass if you do it right, or ugly if you do it quick.

      Not sure I'd have a use for it in any event, but I know my Dad would love to be able to scan crap to his laptop without draping the cable across the office for the dogs to get tangled in.
      --------------
      • And then, for any small USB device you may want to carry around, you now have to carry around a big-ass wall-wart power supply for it. Great. This isn't necessary right now since wired USB already provides 5VDC.

        WUSB is obviously a solution in search of a problem.
        • WUSB is obviously a solution in search of a problem.

          Yeah, i'm gunna have to go ahead n' ..disagree with ya' there...

          Sure, you don't want to trade in your USB cable for a power cable, but what about things where you could use the range of bluetooth, and the speed of USB, You don't think it would be good for things like digital cameras? where you use AA anyway. How about a printer, which has a separate power cable as it is, now the printer only has 1 cable instead of 2. Scanners? Same deal, and that'd
          • Ok, for cameras I can somewhat understand. However, if you've taken a lot of pictures, you may have several flash cards to dump; they already have flash card readers, and some that are mounted in the front of the case. I just don't see a huge benefit here.

            Printers: everyone and their dog now has a home network consisting at least of a cable/DSL modem and a router, and now usually a wireless router. Ethernet-connected printers have been around for well over 10 years now, but mostly in business environmen
          • O.K. I'll disagree with you,
            • digital cameras - 300mW is an insane power drain for a camera, instead of draining the battery to download pics, you could attach it wia USB and charge the battery. see my previous post [slashdot.org]
            • printers - 802.11 is the logical way to implement a wireless printer. It's not hard to find a printer with built-in 802.11. You can also find a few portable printers that are USB powered
            • scanners - a lot of scanners are powered via USB, also if you are going to make it wireless, you probably wa
    • Worst case is everything gets a power cord. If I'm using wireless USB, why would I want a power cord?

      Personally I'd LOVE to be able to put a printer on the other side of the room (near a power connection) without having to string a USB cable around the room to the PC. How about having my IPOD dock (or PDA) on my dresser (again, near the power outlet) and having it sync up to my PC in the office?

    • Wireless (or Radio Frequency as we call it) smart card chips are RF powered. The link is not that fast though (fast enough for smart cards, and faster than using the serial interface). These chips have been created for low power usage, but chips with up to 1 MB + 32 bit processor + crypto co-processor are starting to get available. But unless you want to physically put the device on the computer, they are not very usefull. The max is about 10 cm for a closely coupled device, but that's really stretching it.
    • Because USB is not only data but power...

      What planet do you live on? USB doesn't carry enough power to be useful: I have 11 USB devices, 10 have their own power bricks and cords. Now even the damn mouse [logitech.com] has a power brick, leaving the keyboard as the only USB-powered device.

      The KVM, Hub, Scanner, Inkjet Printer, Laser Printer, Label Printer, Speakers, Palm Cradle, HD, and Zip Drive all have bricks and cables. My digital camera doesn't have a power cable, but can't charge its batteries off USB eith

  • by Morgahastu (522162) <`eman sdnab evaf ... egorREZEEW' `ta'> on Thursday April 15, 2004 @03:07PM (#8873083) Journal
    in compairison to standard wired USB.

    Bluetooth is only useful for a very limited number of applications on a desktop computer (or even a laptop). A mouse, keyboard, and maybe a bluetooth cell phone or PDA (which very little people have). It's not worth the cost of having to buy a bluetooth setup or for manufacturers to include it on the motherboard.

    If it had higher bandwidth then it could be useful for printers, scanners, mp3 players, hard drives, etc.

    If wireless usb does provide the speeds they claim then it will be a huge success. The U in USB does infact standard for Universal, and that's what bluetooth needed to be really successful.

    Oh and not to mention bluetooth support is awful in windows.
    • by Cerpicio (691827) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @03:18PM (#8873232)
      "(which very little people have)"

      Why don't the very tall people don't have them? Or at least the some-what-average height?
    • by Moofie (22272) <lee&ringofsaturn,com> on Thursday April 15, 2004 @03:27PM (#8873360) Homepage
      OK, unless I'm totally stupid, lots more devices available support Bluetooth than support Wireless USB.

      Will it be better supported tomorrow? Who knows. What I do know is that any time device interconnection standards become balkanized, computer users lose.
    • by asr_man (620632) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @03:33PM (#8873432)

      Actually it failed because of a terrible name choice by the marketing droids. What, did they consider "Black Eye" and "Green Thumb" before finally settling on "Blue Tooth"?

      They should have chosen a really cool name like...umm..."Linspire".

    • by FirstTimeCaller (521493) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @03:56PM (#8873781)

      In my opinion, Bluetooth has failed because it is trying to be a wireless USB. Got a USB keyboard or mouse? There's a Bluetooth wireless alternative. But that is not where Bluetooth excels.

      The real power behind Bluetooth is the ability to participate in dynamic short range ad-hoc networks. Walk into a Starbucks and place/pay for an order via Bluetooth. Want to know where the heck you are? Query the nearest Bluetooth enabled milepost. Need to print a map? Send it to the nearest Bluetooth printing kiosk.

      Of course you can't do any of these things today. Why not? Because everyone only sees it (Bluetooth) as a wireless USB! (What's dynamic or ad-hoc about a keyboard for kris-sake?).

      So I say... bring on wireless USB, let it take its proper role and then maybe we can use Bluetooth they way it was intended.

      • Absolutely.

        We already have wireless USB devices, but what makes this a good idea is it will *standardise* the interface, so instead of having one receiver for my keyboard, one receiver for my mouse, and so on, I could have a single receiver for every wireless device in the vicinity of the computer.

        But the annoying thing about wireless USB stuff is that it needs to be powered, so it only suits a small subset of devices well. Let's look at a collection of stuff I currently consider attaching to my comput

    • yep, Bluetooth hasn't really taken off.

      However, I have a Sony Ericsson t68i mobile phone and purchased a USB Bluetooth dongle off ebay for ~20 GBP. I downloaded the excellent floAt's Mobile Agent [sourceforge.net] software which interacts via Bluetooth with Sony Ericsson phones.

      Now when I walk into my room, my phone clock automagically syncs with my computer's clock. All my text messages and my phone book are archived. If a text message arrives, it is displayed on my computer screen, and I can reply using my qwerty
  • WUUSSSSSSB!
    Sitting around, surfing the net.
    True... true..
  • you could go toothing... www.wired.com/news/culture/0,1284,62687,00.html?tw =wn_story_top5
  • by michael path (94586) * on Thursday April 15, 2004 @03:08PM (#8873107) Homepage Journal
    Awesome idea, 480Mbps wirelessly.

    Security is going to be paramount here, but the spec says:

    Wireless connections, on the other hand, due to environmental characteristics, may establish connection paths that are not obvious. In fact, it may not be obvious when a device is connected.

    It goes on to suggest a remedy of configuring security at the time of installation. Should this technology exist in the future, that's going to pose a tremendous stumbling block to assume home users, where most USB device usage occurs, would do that. It's a step back from that plug-and-play that they're used to.
    • by SensitiveMale (155605) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @03:31PM (#8873403)
      Awesome idea, 480Mbps wirelessly.

      I'm still waiting for USB to provide 480 Mbps with wires.
    • by uradu (10768) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @03:53PM (#8873711)
      > Higher levels of security involving encryption
      > should be implemented at the application level.

      Basically this means that secure communications will be up to the vendors, since it's not part of the standard. What that means is that you can forget widespread compatibility. While BT has had its teething problems with compatibility, theoretically at least any headset should work with any phone. Using WUSB however that wouldn't be guaranteed at all, since each vendor could offer their own encryption implementation.

      The article is also glossing over authentication, only stating that WUSB will use the same authentication as wired USB. What authentication?! AFAIK standard USB uses the tried-and-true authentication method of assuming that if it can talk to a device, it obviously must be connected to the bus, and since it's a physical local area bus, the person who plugged it in obviously had physical access to it and was thus "authorized". This particular chicken won't fly with WUSB, though.
  • Easy (Score:5, Funny)

    by CrystalFalcon (233559) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @03:10PM (#8873126) Homepage
    So what am I going to do with my Bluetooth desktop?

    Put it there in the corner, next to the Cordless Desktop, the Logitech one that used proprietary radio. Yeah, right there, next to the infrared keyboard.
  • by ewg (158266) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @03:12PM (#8873147)
    The article looks like WUSB is oriented toward device-to-host communication. Bluetooth supports connections between many different kinds of devices. Phones and accessories are a natural here. (After all, Bluetooth originated with Sweden's Ericsson.)

    My favorite Bluetooth application is moving camera-phone photos to my laptop. My second-favorite application is laptop-to-bluetooth-to-phone-to-GPRS-to-internet.
  • by PrimeWaveZ (513534) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @03:13PM (#8873168)
    <Dumbass> why do i keep burning coasters?
    <Tech> what connection you using?
    <Dumbass> wusb
    <Tech> stop talking on your cordless phone while writing to CD
  • www.jameco.com, page 194, Phoebe Networking Wireless USB. Just not quite 500 MHz.
  • Wonderful (Score:5, Funny)

    by SeanTobin (138474) * <byrdhuntr&hotmail,com> on Thursday April 15, 2004 @03:15PM (#8873192)
    Go wireless USB! Now, with only a mere pringles can, I can "borrow" my neighbors printer, turn his keyboard satanic, and upload the latest Simpsons theme to his PDA!

    Joy :)
  • Applications (Score:3, Interesting)

    by crow (16139) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @03:15PM (#8873196) Homepage Journal
    I can only think of a few useful applications of this technology:

    Web cams: You want to put in a camera to monitor the baby's room (or the driveway, or whatever). Provided the range is sufficient, this may be a decent way of handling it (though other means exist already).

    Networking: It's higher-bandwidth than the current 802.11 standards. The question (as others have mentioned) is the range.

    Laptop base stations: You can leave your devices plugged in for power, and you don't have to hook anything up when you bring your laptop into the room.
    • Laptop base stations: You can leave your devices plugged in for power, and you don't have to hook anything up when you bring your laptop into the room.


      Not to belittle the idea, since you are probably going to plug the laptop into power anyway, how is this particularly different from dropping your laptop into a docking station that has everything you need at your desk plugged into it?

      (Other than the obvious fewer wires connecting everything.)

      Almost everything you are going to be working with is going to
  • by weeboo0104 (644849)
    ...be very afraid of the ensuing slew of pop up adds for WUSB X10 cameras.
  • Last I heard the preliminary WUSB standard was quite lacking in terms of security. Steal your co-workers entire Mp3 collection in only 15 minutes!
    • Ugh... good point, but you don't go far enough.

      I'm rather disappointed that the push is to make things "wireless" without real consideration of the ramifications.

      How about more RF noise? Signal overlap?

      It seems the world is so enthralled with the idea of giving everyone a "megaphone" so they can shout coast-to-coast that they've ceased thinking about what would happen when you have millions of people shouting that loud back and forth to one another.

      Security... overlap... sheesh, can't someone take a br
  • by James McP (3700) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @03:18PM (#8873231)
    More than my PC. Really, there aren't many external devices I have for my PC that don't require power and a rather easily managed cable thanks to convenient hubs.

    What I *do* need is an easier time with my A/V setup. Swapping out components is bad but adding anything new is nightmarish. Deciding which devices should be analog, S-Video, optical, or digital coax is mind numbing. I'd hoped I could firewire everything together but that hasn't happened either, darn it.

    Give me a receiver, DVD player, Tivo, consoles, TVs and speakers with WUSB and I'll be happy. Plug the buggers into a power strip and watch as magic happens and everything chats. Sure, It'll probably need a PAN ID of somesort to limit bleed between setups but dang, it'd make it so much easier to drop a DVD changer and another console or 3 into the setup.
    • Or just do what i do and give everything the coax and be done with it, sure chained analog doesn't liik that extra 5% nice but it's a whole lot easier to set up and simpler to extend, just put any new device between a device with a higher quality output and a lower quality output (and make sure a digital cable box is at back of the chain 'cause a VCR fucks up the digital signal), also make the VCR at the front right before the TV so you can record your stuff (assuming you are recording non-macrovision conte
  • Security? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by David Hume (200499) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @03:18PM (#8873235) Homepage

    From the whitepaper:

    WUSB security will ensure the same level of security as wired USB. Connection-level security between devices will ensure that the appropriate device is associated and authenticated before operation of the device is permitted. Higher levels of security involving encryption should be implemented at the application level. Processing overhead supporting security should not impose noticeable performance impacts or add device costs.


    The above is certainly a requirement for WUSB to take off. However, it does not specify either a means or a method to achieve that goal.

    Also, what is this bit about, "Higher levels of security involving encryption should be implemented at the application level?" Will we need to replace our applications with WUSB-Security Enabled (tm) apps?

    Finally, long range WUSB coupled with the same level of understanding of, and dedication to, security consumers re: WIFI could make WUSB truly exciting.

    • Security? A requirement for something to take off?

      What world are you coming from? Most people unfortunately do not care about security in the slightest. Bazillions of wide-open WiFi networks, unpatched windows infe^H^Hstallations, and the like clearly prove it.

  • by Peldor (639336) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @03:20PM (#8873261)
    Update Holy Deja vu batman... here is an earlier Slashdot article that I missed from 3 weeks ago. Oops.

    Don't worry about it. I'm sure it's your first time, and it won't happen again.

  • by Duke Machesne (453316) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @03:21PM (#8873276)
    For me, cordless will become useful as soon as they invent cordless power supplies. Why would I want a wireless desktop if I had to keep changing the batteries in everything?
  • suck it up (Score:2, Funny)

    by LuxFX (220822)
    So what am I going to do with my Bluetooth desktop?

    cry over it.
  • My 1337 USB c4b|3z with red, green and blue LEDs will become obsolete.
  • I mean... seriously, man, get a grip.
  • So now my keyboard and mouse are going to have to plug into a giant wall wart for power. :(
  • What frequency band? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Monkelectric (546685) <slashdot AT monkelectric DOT com> on Thursday April 15, 2004 @03:55PM (#8873760)
    My WIFI setup at home already clobbers my cordless phone, and my low-power light bulbs emit interference and clobber them both. Now I need to cram bluetooth and WUSB into the same spectrum?
  • People seem to be missing the point regarding bluetooth: it's most important characteristic (in my opinion) is it's low power consumption. This is what makes it so suitable for cell phones, pda's, headsets, etc.

    In deciding whether WUSB will replace bluetooth, you need to compare the power consumption of the two, not just the bandwidth.
  • Wireless USB is based on UWB (ultra wideband), which is a horrific modulation scheme that interferes with absolutely everything. It's weird that it's even being promoted by the OFDM alliance, because they're supposed to be promoting, well, OFDM (orthogonal frequency domain modulation). OFDM is a "nice" modulation scheme because it contains itself within a frequency band, and uses the bandwidth extremely efficiently. UWB on the other hand plonks itself over the entire spectrum (several GHz) and when you cons
  • WirelessUSB isn't meant for keyboards and mice really. It's built around attaching storage and other high-speed current-USB devices without all the damned wires. Just think, that FireWire or USB2.0 harddrive you have won't need the wire anymore. You won't have to find plugs in certain areas or string wires through hoops anymore. As more wireless adds on, the mess under my computer (and some others in the office) gets smaller. Things are getting better. I just wish they'd stick with one F'in standard.

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