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Wireless Networking Data Storage Hardware

FireWire Gets Ready to Go Wireless 215

mindless4210 writes "The 1394 Trade Association has approved a specification for the development of wireless FireWire applications, which will let 1394-enabled devices, both wired and unwired, to connect with each other. The new spec will enable communication between a variety of devices, such as set-top boxes, HDTVs, tuners, and DVD players, all of which will be able to interoperate in home networks. Officials speculated that in the future there could be plug-in cards for set-top boxes enabling wireless connection to DVD players and hard-disk drives. The trade association also said it will work with the WiMedia Alliance to jointly develop collaborative products."
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FireWire Gets Ready to Go Wireless

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  • by aardwolf204 ( 630780 ) on Tuesday May 11, 2004 @08:57PM (#9122836)

    Great! Now that I've got this awesome free internet connection from my neighbors I can look forward to getting HBO without cables too! The future looks bright!
  • Good name. (Score:5, Funny)

    by aghorne ( 583388 ) on Tuesday May 11, 2004 @08:58PM (#9122843) Homepage
    They need to get away from the 1394 name. It's confusing for people. They should call it FireWireless!!!
  • by aardwolf204 ( 630780 ) on Tuesday May 11, 2004 @08:59PM (#9122860)
    Wireless FireWire

    Yes but can it charge my ipod?

    • Yes but can it charge my ipod?

      Sure. It uses a laser to ionize the air so electricity can flow to your wireless devices. Just be careful you don't stick your hand between the iPod and the computer. Use of a humidifier is also not recommended.

    • If it did, I'm sure Tesla would be proud.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 11, 2004 @08:59PM (#9122866)
    On a hard drive of its own where the wife can't find it!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 11, 2004 @08:59PM (#9122867)
    Wireless Firewire, aka Fire.
  • New name? (Score:3, Funny)

    by worst_name_ever ( 633374 ) on Tuesday May 11, 2004 @09:00PM (#9122875)
    Wireless Firewire... wouldn't that just be called "Fire"?
    • Wireless Firewire... wouldn't that just be called "Fire"?

      Yes, but no one can trademark the word "Fire"... Yet.
      • Yes but they could call it something cool instead related to fire that they could trademark - like Prometheus for example.
        • by Detritus ( 11846 ) on Wednesday May 12, 2004 @03:08AM (#9124495) Homepage
          Not a good choice. Prometheus has his liver ripped out and eaten by an eagle every day. His liver regrows itself every night. It might be a good name for the next version of Windows.
          • I thought that perhaps Damocles [wikipedia.org]would be a better name for the next version of windows... whatever you do, the threat of dire and painful unpleasantness always hangs over you.

            Or what about Sisyphus [wikipedia.org]? Legend has it that he was forced to endlessly push an enormous stone up a hill, only to have it roll straight down again. Reminds me of the endless and soul-crushing process of maintaining a windows system!

            I'm sure there are heaps more good ones...

    • So now someone's gonna patent fire?
  • by Infonaut ( 96956 ) <infonaut@gmail.com> on Tuesday May 11, 2004 @09:00PM (#9122882) Homepage Journal
    While it's a ways off, and there are glitches (Bluetooth security concerns, etc.), I for one will be happy as hell when I can go behind my entertainment center and not have to spend 15 minutes untangling cords and cables just to move something. Ditto for the computer setup. Imagine a truly wireless office, where nothing (keyboard, external monitor, network) is connected by wires or cables. Sure, there are some folks who will doubtless brag about how they already have such a setup, but I'm talking about widespread adoption.

    Extending FireWire is one piece of the puzzle, and I for one am anxious to see the products that will result.

    • by hackman ( 18896 ) <<bretthall> <at> <ieee.org>> on Tuesday May 11, 2004 @09:12PM (#9122991) Homepage
      This stinks of a future where you can't easily control which system your device is connected to? I have already had trouble with keyboards in neighboring areas fighting occasionally and getting some very strange behavior when batteries get too low.

      I can't imagine (!!) how much harder it would be to setup your stereo with no wires.. i.e. does the video from the cablemodem go to the TiVO, VCR, Stereo, or TV first? The tv audio wants to automatically be grabbed by the stereo input, but dammit I want the TiVO to go to the stereo and the TV to go to the TiVO! It could be insane.. will we have to tweak 10 different bios interfaces to get this all connected right? Do I have to push buttons on the corresponding devices (like the wireless mouse) every time the house power surges?

      I don't think this will solve the worlds problems, or even the ones you propose it will solve.
      • Indeed! (Score:2, Insightful)

        by grepistan ( 758811 )

        Merely lacking wires doesn't automatically make everything magically easy to configure... in fact in some ways having wires leading from device to device actually helps configuration in many ways, and especially helps with troubleshooting.

        I can't really see the average non-VCR-programming type being able to easily set up any more than about 3 wireless devices. Hell, I can program my VCR but it takes half an hour to get my TV, PS2, stereo, VCR and DVD player set up together...

        • Merely lacking wires doesn't automatically make everything magically easy to configure.

          Certainly true, there's no givens here but Firewire seems to be a really intelligent protocol--in my experience, you just plug stuff in and it works. Obviously being wireless, there are additional challenges, but at the very least, they had a good starting point so I see reason to be optimistic.

      • dude, there would not be any battery problems. these bandwidths would be used for devices like AV etc.

        the range would need to be very short like 3 feet (does the proximity really need to be that far away?) so that your neighbors' Cable signal does not leak into yours, other than that, I see perhaps devices that are servers (Cable boxes, sat boxes, Stereo receivers, CD players, DVD players, DV camcorders, computers) and devices that are clients (Speakers, TVs, computers)

        this would alleviate any cross talk
    • by mhesseltine ( 541806 ) on Tuesday May 11, 2004 @09:18PM (#9123033) Homepage Journal
      I for one will be happy as hell when I can go behind my entertainment center and not have to spend 15 minutes untangling cords and cables just to move something. Ditto for the computer setup. Imagine a truly wireless office, where nothing (keyboard, external monitor, network) is connected by wires or cables.

      As others have mentioned, that's a great vision for signal cables. However, all of those devices still need a power supply of some sort. So, either you

      1. Have a universal battery pack/charger and run all those things off battery power
      2. Implement solar cells and let them store/use power from radiated light in the room
      3. Setup a Tesla coil and have wireless power
      4. Build the products with fuel cells that can be run from butane/propane/etc. and keep them filled.
      5. or
      6. Some other, as of yet undiscovered, power source.

      I agree, I'd love to be able to move my computer stuff around without worrying about pulling the speaker/monitor/mouse/keyboard/network/etc. cables. However, until power is taken care of, you're still going to have one cable for each appliance.

      • by Infonaut ( 96956 ) <infonaut@gmail.com> on Tuesday May 11, 2004 @10:16PM (#9123438) Homepage Journal
        Setup a Tesla coil and have wireless power

        Yeah, the power thing is a bitch. You're absolutely right about the inherent difficulties. But I can't think about something that actually happened to me in my youth. I was about 7 or 8 years old, and I was haing a conversation with my mother.

        "Man, I wish you could just play whatever movie you wanted to on your TV." (This was the mid-1970s, mind you) I continued, trying to be practical. "But it'll never happen."

        Mom looked over at me and said, "Do you think the settlers crossing the midwest in their covered wagons could have even imagined television? Sometimes things that seem impossible turn out not to be so impossible after all."

        Of course now I can pop a DVD of practically any movie I want and watch it at my leisure. I don't claim to have the answers to making the world wireless, but I have learned not to rule things out.

      • 1 cable per appliance is a hell of a lot better than a half-dozen.
      • A few years back I thought about the idea of having a 12v DC bus throught a home. So in addition to an AC, you'd have through home DC jacks/outlets. I figure that with a monster AC/DC converter (king Wall Wart) in the garage/basement/whatever. I wouldn't think it would be terribly difficult to do.

        Instead of devices having wall warts and PC PSU's, you could just tap the stable 12v and GND lines and use a smaller chip that could convert it to 5v or whatever.

        Is something like this feasable (with a proper
        • Yep, it's possible. You'll find yourself much happier using 48V, for distribution reasons, but that does make switching down harder (you can't just passively waste power to go from 48V to 5V, or you'll be wasting 90%...) But the equipment is standard, and cheap, and reliable. But then, the same is true of AC.
        • Sure, you'd just have to run 000 gauge wire throughout your home since the current draw of most devices at 12V is going to be insane. (remember, P = I*V, and since P doesn't change, and V drops, guess what I has to do). This is not counting the rather large voltage drop DC expieriences over distances of course :)

          But on a related note, some server hosting places run +48VDC, which is handy especially for UPSes, since you don't need an inverter (which just wastes power) but instead run right out of the bat
        • by rcw-home ( 122017 ) on Tuesday May 11, 2004 @11:49PM (#9123860)
          A few years back I thought about the idea of having a 12v DC bus throught a home. So in addition to an AC, you'd have through home DC jacks/outlets. I figure that with a monster AC/DC converter (king Wall Wart) in the garage/basement/whatever. I wouldn't think it would be terribly difficult to do.

          Distance really hurts. Say you want to draw 20 amps through such a bus (240 watts - not really that much) and that your 12V equipment starts to get flaky at 11V (meaning you need one volt of drop or less). One volt loss with 20 amps means you need a round-trip resistance of less than .05 ohms. Say you need to run this 50 feet, or 100 feet round trip. You'd need wire with less than .5 ohms per 1000 feet. Googling for "copper wire table" reveals that you'd need 6-gauge wire!

          If you ran 120V, not only would your devices be designed to draw 1/10th the current, but they would have greater tolerances to voltage drops - 119V is absolutely within specifications.

          Instead of devices having wall warts and PC PSU's, you could just tap the stable 12v and GND lines and use a smaller chip that could convert it to 5v or whatever.

          A modern switching power supply will be about as small and efficient whether it was designed to draw from 120VAC or 12VDC.

          What might be more interesting for local power distribution would be higher-frequency AC, say 100kHz. Transformer-based power supplies would then shrink to the size of switching power supplies.

        • That sounds great until you look at the price of DC->DC converters. It's not like you're going to want a voltage regulator on that circuit, unless you like wasting energy.
      • I'm really not trying to be snotty or anything here but how about:

        6. Plug in the devices into a traditional outlet.

        While the power issue certainly does take away some the benefits of wireless connectivity, if all I had to do was plug one power cable in to an outlet for each device, and Wireless FireWire will take care of the rest, eliminating all of the other cables, I would still be extremely happy. It's not just the cables themselves and the space they take up that is a nuissance, it's also the matte

    • Frankly, the only thing I find more annoying than the wires are the batteries. You have to pay for batteries, and they need to be constantly changed. Wires are just there, and they're free!

      I'll take the wires, anyday.
  • WiFi? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by thedillybar ( 677116 ) on Tuesday May 11, 2004 @09:01PM (#9122887)
    Why so many wireless protocols/systems?

    Can't we refine one and use it for all these different applications? Or are these different protocols content-specific? (i.e. some protocols are good with video, others are better with raw data?) I haven't seen anything showing this.

    • I agree with this, and it's my opinion that 802.11a/b/g with TCP/IP or UDP is a generic enough transport that any type of data should be able to be handled effeciently ... plus, just as the original poster wrote, 802.11a/b/g will "enable communication between a variety of devices, such as set-top boxes, HDTVs, tuners, and DVD players, all of which will be able to interoperate in home networks".

      So, what am I missing here? How is this any better than just building 802.11a/b/g enabled devices?
    • Re:WiFi? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Raindance ( 680694 ) * <johnsonmx.gmail@com> on Tuesday May 11, 2004 @09:07PM (#9122952) Homepage Journal
      Basically, yes, some are good for some things; others, for other things, and this usually centers around error tolerance- of the data you want transferred, and of your connection method.

      Firewire, for instance, has error-checking and error-correction built into its spec (it'd be smarter about errors than, say, WIFI). You can build in the same with other protocols but you take a bigger performance and output hit and firewire might end up as more fundamentally reliable regardless. Some protocols do better with broadcast mediums as well.

      Someday perhaps we'll standardize on one wireless protocol when we've enough over-the-air bandwidth and processing power as to make tradeoffs trivial, but that day has not yet come.

    • Re:WiFi? (Score:2, Insightful)

      Why is it good for us? Think competition.

      USB2 wouldn't have come so soon if FireWire wasn't around. And FireWire 800 wouldn't be here if USB2 hadn't shown up.

      Next, we're going to see competition between FireWireless and 802.11. Expect furthur improvements.
    • Re:WiFi? (Score:3, Informative)

      by calstraycat ( 320736 )
      Yes, it is an issue with different protocols being better for different types of services. I don't know much about Wireless Firewire, but I do know a bit about wired Firewire and Wi-Fi (802.11) and why the former is suitable for interconnection of entertainment systems and the latter is not.

      The problem with 802.11 is it's lack of Quality of Service, i.e. it has no way to guarantee a chunk of bandwidth to a particular stream. 802.11 is just wireless ethernet with all of it's advantages and disadvantages. If
    • The primary differences between the various wireless protocols are in the power/range/bandwidth tradeoff.

      CDMA, GSM, etc. have low power, high range, but low bandwidth.

      Bluetooth has low power, low range, and somewhat better bandwidth.

      802.11x has high power, moderate range, and moderate bandwidth.

      So there is no widely-deployed high power, low range, high bandwidth technology. Hence Wireless Firewire and Wireless USB both being developed.


  • Like I said... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Revvy ( 617529 )
  • by j3ll0 ( 777603 ) on Tuesday May 11, 2004 @09:02PM (#9122898)
    Really, Ethernet has achieved dominance over the wired infrastructure.

    The 802.11 (x) standard has achieved pretty much dominance over the wireless infrastructure.

    It seems to me that this may be just another competing standard that will introduce incompatibilities and vendor lockin down the track. How is this magically different to bluetooth, wap, etc????

    Kewl....all the early adopters can run off and buy this kit....I'll try and find a cost-effective consumer solution that is secure.
    • yes, ethernet is more widespread, but for practical peripherals, is 400mbps(firewire) better than 100mbps(fast ethernet)? ofcourse!. Even usb2(480mbps) and firewire800(800mbps) are strides faster... their cables are more robust(yet more limited length-wise)... ethernet has its place, as does firewire.
  • by gumpish ( 682245 ) on Tuesday May 11, 2004 @09:03PM (#9122910) Journal
    Can someone explain how "Wireless Firewire" is related to wired 1394, or how "Wireless USB" is related to USB, other than they are schemes approved by the same organizations? Is it all just marketing or do the technologies really have something in common?
    • by LostCluster ( 625375 ) * on Tuesday May 11, 2004 @09:42PM (#9123216)
      It means that the standard came from the same standard organization that set the original, so you can be pretty sure that they didn't do anything stupid that'd lock out the wired-generation devices from using a wired-to-wireless bridge.

      In short, basing on an existing wired standard means all the wireless standard needs to do is to define a radio link that emulates a wired link. Only the radio bridges need to be aware that wireless is being used, the other end of the bridge can just claim to be a typical powered or unpowered hub. There'd likely be some sort of way to issue an "Are you wireless?" query to hubs so that appications that can't tolerate the small delay wireless creates can scream about not having a good enough connection, and things like that... but most of the heavy lift operations can just lean on the wired standard.
  • Snider speculated that there could be plug-in cards for set-top boxes enabling wireless connection to DVD players and hard-disk drives.

    Great, so I wasted all my time on a SFF MythPC for nothing... J/K. Actually, come to think of it, my home theater is almost wireless already. I pulled back the entertainment center the other day to plug in the X-Box and decided to do some cleaning up (Gasp!). It was like a fight to the death between the lonely geek and the green glowing tenticle creature from bad anime p
  • Worthless (Score:3, Insightful)

    by macbot3000 ( 562097 ) on Tuesday May 11, 2004 @09:05PM (#9122933)
    Since the MPAA and RIAA will ensure that no hardware will ship that can transmit content to anything else.

    Maybe it will be useful for high speed channel changing.

  • Range? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mrdrivel ( 742076 ) on Tuesday May 11, 2004 @09:06PM (#9122945)
    While the article kindly reminds us that Firewire runs at 400 Mbps, there is no mention of range. How much data can you transfer through the air before you start to cook things?

    Having everything on your desk talk via wireless Firewire seems feasible. But is it possible to have an entire house run at 400 Mbps, walls, RF sources, and all?

    Seems like this might be an 802.11g type deal with 54MB on paper and a much lower real life value.
    • While it's probably true that there will be range issues and very likely that you won't get full bandwith at or near the edge of whatever the range is, the biggest problems this solves are at least as far as I'm concerned anyway, are short range ones. I've been wondering for years why I need to contort myself and try to manage the huge mess of cables from my TV, VCR, DVD Player, Receiver, etc. I've been telling myself my next house will have a closet or media room behind the entertainment center just to d
    • I've seen hardware demos of spread spectrum lab systems transferring many gigabytes (getting close to Tb) per second. So a LOT more than firewire. This was on the extreme bleeding edge with DSP's that required huge power supplies, but it's probably representative of what's possible in the near term.

      The theoretical limits are even higher. You don't need to transmit at higher power to get more throughput - higher bandwidth works fine as well, and thus is the magic of spread spectrum technologies.
  • All lies (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 11, 2004 @09:08PM (#9122959)
    Liar liar wireless bra and panties on fire.

    Its not fireWIRE at all. Better names would be:

    NAWP (not another wireless protocol)

    This is a hacker's dream come true!
  • Why are there two standards that seemingly do the same thing? Firewire and USB are both industry standards, yet they seemingly are designed to connect peripherals to PCs. They both do a great job, but it doesn't make sense to have two competeing industry standards. After all, the point of a "standard" is to get everyone on board. Time for everyone to start working together! :)
    • I don't understand why people complain so loudly about having a choice. Competition is good, folks! Get several protocols out there in the market, and let the best one win (hopefully).

      Sure, the market might fragment initially, but at least the better standard stands some kind of chance to gain dominance. Imagine if everyone settled on FireWire for the high-speed peripheral bus, and USB never got a chance? We wouldn't have the benifits of USB, namely bus-powered devices, lower cost, support for many dev

      • Firewire (Wired) is bus-powered. Provides much more juice over the bus, as well. The 6 - Pin version, at least.
      • by pHDNgell ( 410691 ) on Tuesday May 11, 2004 @10:14PM (#9123425)
        Imagine if everyone settled on FireWire for the high-speed peripheral bus, and USB never got a chance? We wouldn't have the benifits of USB, namely bus-powered devices, lower cost, support for many devices on the same bus; and then much later, high-speed USB which can finally compete with FireWire regarding bandwidth.

        This makes no sense. One of the benefits of USB is bus-powered devices? Like my iPod?

        Lower cost? What makes USB lower cost than firewire (cost != price)?

        Many devices on the same bus? Like my video camera being controlled by my powerbook as it spools video off onto an external disk (or two)?

        High-speed USB that's theoretically similar in speed to firewire being developed while the new firewire standards were being developed is a benefit? That makes the latest USB (theoretically) a little more than half the speed of the latest firewire.

        I mean, I'm all for competition and stuff, but USB never seemed to be in the same space as firewire.
      • Just to clarify and in accordance with initlal post... USB should be for simple peripherals, Firewire for advanced peripherals... they really shouldn't compete at all, they should be parallel technologies which complement each other in their own domains... ie: USB for mice, keyboards, backup external drives (slow and externally powered), low definition D-Cameras, printers, etc.... Firewire for Hi-Fi scanners, printers, cameras, fast external drives, anything with high bandwidth requirements...

    • by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Tuesday May 11, 2004 @10:19PM (#9123463) Homepage Journal
      Why are there two standards that seemingly do the same thing? Firewire and USB are both industry standards, yet they seemingly are designed to connect peripherals to PCs.

      Simple. The two busses have little in common.


      • peer-to-peer design (all devices are created equal)
      • low CPU overhead due to an intelligent controller with DMA
      • requires smarter hardware due to peer-to-peer design
      • heavily standardized protocols for storage, audio, video.

      • host-device design - devices can only talk to host, not each other
      • higher CPU overhead since the host controller is relatively dumb
      • really inexpensive hardware (both host and device), ideal for low-cost devices
      • standardized protocols for pretty much everything, but particularly human interface devices
      Firewire is well-suited to audio/video applications and storage, since those applications require heavy throughput, which would severely tax the CPU when using USB.

      USB is well-suited to low-speed devices like keyboards, mice, and inexpensive still cameras, scanners, and other consumer devices, since cost is the primary factor in their design.

      Just my $0.02.

      • Think back 9 years (if you're that old)...

        Token-ring (16Mbps)
        - high efficiency, degrades gracefully (you can use all 16Mbps)
        - requires smart hardware
        - preferred by a few manufacturers

        Ethernet (10Mbps)
        - degrades horribly, long delays encountered at 35% utilisation.
        - simpler hardware
        - cheaper

        Personally I prefer Firewire, and wish it was as broadly supported as usb. But it's not, so it probably won't be.
        • Ethernet (10Mbps)
          - degrades horribly, long delays encountered at 35% utilisation.

          Please don't propagate this myth. Ethernet is not Aloha. See Measured Capacity of an Ethernet: Myths and Reality [acm.org], Boggs et al.

          • by swordfishBob ( 536640 ) on Wednesday May 12, 2004 @06:20AM (#9125030)
            Interesting. They achieved one heck of a lot more throughput than I've ever managed on a single ethernet segment.
            The answer is partly in their recommendations, including:
            - don't use long cables (ie even well within the "spec")
            - don't put many hosts on a single cable; use a bridge (adds cost)

            Also, the report DOES document a decline in ethernet's total througput as more stations compete for media access.
            Token ring doesn't. It supports over 99% total throughput no matter how that traffic is comprised - time-critical plus data transfer between many nodes.

            In my limited experience:
            For 40 stations, scattered among various offices / rooms, all active, thin ethernet wouldn't go over 35% util without a lot of collisions -> retries. So many retries, that most of the traffic WAS the retries. There weren't just collisions, there were double and triple collisions (easy to detect with the right equipment).

            On the other hand, I've seen a single token-ring run full capacity with more than 40 active stations, and no-one would even notice if someone else was copying huge files over the network. No such thing as a collision.

            Ok, at those speeds it was only a few sites, but it's just not worth trying to push ethernet to its cable lngth plus (# of nodes or repeaters) limits.
            Thankfully, cheap switched networks have saved us that pain. Except for wireless performance being about the same :-)
            • Collisions are Good (Score:4, Interesting)

              by Detritus ( 11846 ) on Wednesday May 12, 2004 @08:16AM (#9125395) Homepage
              Collisions are good. That is how Ethernet arbitrates access to the medium.
              Perhaps the biggest mistake made by the original Ethernet designers was using the term collision to describe that (now well known) event. Since most collisions encountered in everyday life (i.e., collisions between trains, cars, and people) are normally to be avoided at all costs, people assume that the same is the case with Ethernet collisions. This is simply not true. A collision is just the mechanism used by Ethernet to control access to the shared medium among all users wishing to transmit data at any given time.

              Rich Seifert
              Technical Report -- The Effect of Ethernet Behavior on Networks using High-Performance Workstations and Servers [ethermanage.com]

              The collision count is just an indication of the offered load. Collisions are short-term events that do not use a significant portion of the channel capacity.
  • by Anubis333 ( 103791 ) on Tuesday May 11, 2004 @09:09PM (#9122971) Homepage
    One of the great things about firewire is that it can power devices.. I guess this is no longer the case. Time to break out the ol ac adapter with your new 'firewireless' adapter. Not to mention, any device I can think of would need a PS, or are they going to release external HDs with giant batteries now?
  • 802.15.3 = UWB (Score:5, Informative)

    by FreeHeel ( 620639 ) on Tuesday May 11, 2004 @09:22PM (#9123070)
    "Enter 802.15.3, a specification being groomed for IEEE standard status that provides ad hoc wireless PANs - short range (1-50m) and ad hoc, in other words. 802.15.3 builds on the 802.15 standard by adding QoS specifically to allow the PAN to carry digital imaging and multimedia data. It also builds in data security, implementing privacy and authentication services. 802.15.3 operates in the 2.4GHz band at 11, 22, 33, 44, and 55Mbps.

    Unlike 802.11 connections, 802.15.3 is designed for peer-to-peer operation rather than routing data through an access point, whether that's a base-station or a client machine configured as one. Access points can become network bottlenecks.

    The final spec. is expected to be submitted for IEEE approval in June. In the meantime, an alternative spec., 802.15.3a, is under development to create a higher data PHY to replace the 55Mbps 2.4GHz PHY in 802.15.3. It's increasingly likely that 802.15.3a will be based on ultra-wideband (UWB) technology, but it has to get through selection procedures this month and in July first. However, it has the potential to reach data rates of 100Mbps and ultimately the 400Mbps (at 5m) offered by standard 1394 wired links."

    Team targets 802.15.3 for wireless video networks [theregister.co.uk]

  • Burglars could wardrive for the best equipment, and hit specified houses. Great idea, but I would think that a wired alternative, like the existing coax you already use, might be the better choice. With handhelds, tho, this makes a bit of sense -- play your Sony Walkman through your stereo when you walk in from the car, for example. Aren't toys wonderful?
  • *shudder* (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Etherwalk ( 681268 )
    Seems a bit like a security nightmare... I mean, it's bad enough having to secure a PC Network, securing all home appliances against intrusion just seems... ouch...
  • by Xeger ( 20906 ) <.ten.regex.rekcart. .ta. .todhsals.> on Tuesday May 11, 2004 @11:45PM (#9123839) Homepage
    Many non-technical people have a tendency to forever name a technology after the first adopter. Thus my mother and some of my art- and literature-oriented friends refer to anything wireless as Wi-Fi -- including Bluetooth, wireless mice and keyboard, etc.

    When this comes out, they're going to have a real dillywhacker to deal with. Cause I'm sure no consumer *anywhere* will be confused by Wi-Fi Fi-Wi.
  • by Xeger ( 20906 ) <.ten.regex.rekcart. .ta. .todhsals.> on Wednesday May 12, 2004 @12:17AM (#9123969) Homepage
    The scene: 36 months from now, I sit in my living room with a tablet PC on my lap (running Debian sid, known by then as "stable.") I've got the obligatory Slashdot window open on my desktop and am using 802.11g to sift through comments.

    I want some music. I fire up iTunes for Linux, power on my FireWireless-enabled iPod, and start blasting a ripped Metallica MP3.

    Since my Tablet PC's tinny speakers are not enough to satisfy my audiophile ears, I pipe the output via wireless USB to a box hooked up to my stereo receiver.

    I get the urge to head bang, and put my Tablet PC on the coffee table, picking up a Bluetooth keyboard so I can still type scathingly witty replies to the Slashdot articles I'm browsing.

    Now then, what's wrong with this picture?

    Answer: SPECTRUM! All of the protocols I mentioned above are shoehorned into the same narrow slice of unlicensed 2.4 GHz spectrum! The same wavelengths are also alive with traffic from a constellation of consumer electronics: cordless phones, A/V senders, RF remotes, proprietary-protocol wireless keyboards and mice, and numerous other devices.

    Even if some upcoming technologies (WUSB, Wireless 1394) end up in the 5GHz band, spectrum crowding will still be an issue. For any individual device (iPod, stereo receiver, mouse/kb) it may not be much of an issue, because the extremely short range of the signal makes it less likely for devices to interfere. But what about your PC, which is supposed to act as the hub that terminates all of these wireless links to its peripherals? The poor thing is going to be bathed in a constant stream of 2.4GHz radio energy! With so many devices shouting at it, how will my PC be able to listen to any one of them?

    IANARE (I Am Not A Radio Engineer), but it seems to me that spectrum crowding will become a major problem in a few years. Does someone care to explain to me how ultra-wideband spread-spectrum technology is going to break the Shannon limit, and pull more bandwidth out of thin air than is inherently present?
    • Well the higher we go, the more bandwidth there is.

      There's as much bandwidth between 1 and 2 GHz as there is between 0 and 1000Hz.

      Plus thanks to sneaky mathematical models they can all operate in the same space but not interfere absolutely... it's diffcult to deploy lots of long range services, but for short stuff it's fine.
    • Well deregulating the analog TV spectrum would definitely help. Ever looked at a representation of the spectrum?
      Not the best chart I've ever seen, but it works [fcc.gov]
      Notice how broadcast TV (Much of the blue area) takes several pages, where the unlicensed spectrum (yellow) gets under half a page. That's one reason for the big push to sigital TV - it takes a fraction of the spectrum, hence, maybe more of the TV spectrum could be de-licensed for use in electronics.
  • The new spec will enable communication between a variety of devices, such as set-top boxes, HDTVs, tuners, and DVD players, all of which will be able to interoperate in home networks.

    Isn't this how SkyNet got started?

  • FireWireless then? :)

    Why don't they just use something standard like 802.11[bg] with a suitable protocol on top? I can't understand the benefits of Yet Another Wireless standard when they could just specify a protocol that could run across any speed of 802.11 connection or even a plain ethernet connection. And yes, I know that FireWire needs much more bandwidth than you can get off 802.11 systems, but isn't it saner to enhance the generic networking systems rather than designing something completely prop
  • USB did this too (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TwistedSpring ( 594284 ) * on Wednesday May 12, 2004 @05:25AM (#9124875) Homepage
    Wireless USB [slashdot.org] was also reported on /. some time ago. I'm surprised the article doesn't mention it. Apparently wireless USB is going for similar speeds as this FireWire-less stuff. Mind you, 1394 has always seemed more sexy to me than USB.
  • It seems like a lot of my "spare" time lately has been dealing with Firewire issues, so a few thoughts...

    First, there was an article recently about how you can ask your cable company as of April 1st to provide you (per FCC mandate) with a cable box that has a Firewire port. So it seems like getting this turned on gives you quite a bit of capability to quickly integrate your home system with your A/V over a somewhat higher quality connection.

    Second, as my main computer is upstairs, and the family viewing a
  • Does this mean I can charge my iPod without even plugging it in?!?

Someday your prints will come. -- Kodak