Wireless networking has, in my rather sadly predictable geeky opinion, made computing not only a whole lot more accessible but sexy as well. In fact, I might even go so far as to say that the social Internet service explosion would not have happened, or certainly not happened as quickly, were it not for the wireless phenomena. Nobody, apart from me and my ilk, want network cables on the carpet and few can afford the luxury of an Ethernet infrastructure built into the property itself.

Wireless is truly an enabling technology if ever there was. What’s more, it is still very much n emerging one as well. New standards, new functionality, new levels of wow factor are being unveiled every few months. And so it is with the arrival of Ultra Wide Band. Although UWB has been around in various forms for a while now, it has only just received the official sanctioning from the International Organization for Standardization and Ecma International to become a kosher wireless standard. If you want to be specific, go Google for ECMA-368, ECMA-369, and ISO/IEC 26907 which cover all the technical bases between sublayer and physical network layers.

If you just want to know what it does, then short-distance (think same room) wireless data transfer at 480Mbps maximum throughput pretty much sums it up. But the really interesting stuff is still come, and that is asking the question: so where next for WiMedia UWB?

The answer looks like being Wireless USB, and that’s really exciting for anyone who uses USB but is totally fed up with the way that these peripheral devices re-introduce spaghetti wiring back into the otherwise wire-free living or work space.

Wireless USB is not just wishful thinking or a case of some technology writer having a punt at guessing the future again. Devices supporting Wireless USB were on display earlier this year at CES, including the all important dongle style peripheral to enable standard USB 2.0 ports to join the superfast wire-free party. I’m not convinced that we will see the sort of take up that some are suggesting, I have seen figures of 300 million devices shipped by 2010 quoted for example, but I do suspect that if you are looking for the next big thing then Wireless USB stands a pretty big chance of being it.

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About the Author

A freelance technology journalist for 30 years, I have been a Contributing Editor at PC Pro (one of the best selling computer magazines in the UK) for most of them. As well as currently contributing to Forbes.com, The Times and Sunday Times via Raconteur Special Reports, SC Magazine UK, Digital Health, IT Pro and Infosecurity Magazine, I am also something of a prolific author. My last book, Being Virtual: Who You Really are Online, which was published in 2008 as part of the Science Museum TechKnow Series by John Wiley & Sons. I am also the only three times winner (2006, 2008, 2010) of the BT Information Security Journalist of the Year title, and was humbled to be presented with the ‘Enigma Award’ for a ‘lifetime contribution to information security journalism’ in 2011 despite my life being far from over...

Wireless USB also faces a few hurdles. You can probably count on one hand the number of people who know to check the batteries when a wireless device isn't working right.

The real beauty of USB, at least as I see it, is that it's idiotproof. It provides power and connection all in one little plug.