First we had the serial and parallel ports. Then they were both replaced by USB ports, which offered more versatility. Now wireless USB is on the horizon, offering us the chance to untangle from all those cables. JKABaseball takes a look at how wireless USB is expected to work, and helps us to imagine a future without an electronic rats' nest behind our desks.
Universal Serial Bus (USB), which started popping up in late 1996, became manufacturers top choice to connect their peripherals to the consumer’s computer. USB replaced the serial and parallel ports, with a speed that was in between serial's 115kbits/s and parallel’s 24Mbits/s. The first version of USB was rated at 12Mbits/s. USB was meant to become the “universal” connection type.
USB has many advantages over other connections. One of the biggest advantages of using USB rather than serial or parallel is the Plug and Play feature. Plug and Play is supposed to be simply that--all the user has to do is plug the device in, and Windows will hopefully grab the drivers, and the new device will be instantly functional. USB also allows power to be sent along with data into the peripherals, sometimes eliminating the need for external power cords.
In 2001, USB started to show its speed, or lack there of, and USB 2.0 was introduced. The new USB 2.0 was rated at 480Mbits/s, and still provided backwards compatibility with older USB devices. Now, in late 2004, USB is looking to make its first physical change. USB will join the wireless market.
The major difference between the upcoming Wireless USB (WUSB) and USB 2.0, like the name details, is that the upgrade will be wireless. The cord will be cut, but the speed will stay the same. This alone may convince many consumers to buy this new technology. Replacing the jungle of cords in the back of their computer with wireless connections has been prayed for by gadget lovers for years.
Wireless USB would work in groups called “clusters.” Each part of your house would run on different clusters. Your PC would be a cluster, along with all of the peripherals; your home theater system, TV, DVD, audio system, set-top box, would be another; and the home office yet another. Some devices could belong to multiple clusters.
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