The new age of wireless

25 Feb 2008

LTE and Wimax might be starting to grab the headlines, but next-gen cellular is not the only hot wireless right now.

A lot of the action is taking inside the home, with the aim of putting consumers' burgeoning digital media libraries onto a single platform.

The first is WirelessHD, which has the backing of consumer electronics firms Samsung, Sony, Toshiba and Panasonic, as well as Intel. It deploys in the unlicensed 60 GHz spectrum and is capable of sending movies and music files at speeds of 4 Gbps.

Using the WirelessHD specs, an Australian research team, NICTA, says it has broken through the 5Gbps barrier with a chip based on the WirelessHD specs.

WirelessHD is not yet commercial, but a San Diego firm, PulseLink, is already selling a UWB-based solution that can push TV signals across a living room at 890 Mbps. Westinghouse has already built an HDTV with a PulseLink chip.

Aside from the new technologies, those old faithfuls, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, are also ramping up.

In the long-term Bluetooth, which has just celebrated its tenth anniversary, will combine with UWB chips. For the time being it is working with Wi-Fi to allow a high-speed option over longer distances.

And Wi-Fi itself is now at the advanced stage of developing its new 802.11n, which will deliver notional speeds of 540 Mbps.

These aren't challengers to 4G. Rather, they tell us we are heading into an age of ubiquitous wireless networking.

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