WirelessUSB: Yet Another Short-Range Networking Standard

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Cypress Semiconductor has taken another step towards releasing its WirelessUSB family of products. This is a short-range networking protocol that will compete with Bluetooth. Like Bluetooth, it is intended for so-called human-interface devices (HID) like PC mice, keyboards, and gaming consoles.

The main advantage WirelessUSB has its it does not require new drivers for operating systems that support USB. However, at this point, WirelessUSB is intended solely to connect peripherals to computers, not create ad-hoc networks like Bluetooth.

The company has begun sampling the Cypress CY694X, the first chips to use WirelessUSB. This operates at 2.4 GHz and can connect as many as seven devices up to 30 feet apart. Using a frequency-hopping spread-spectrum technology, the CY694X makes it possible to use multiple WirelessUSB devices in crowded offices and classrooms without interference. Advanced power management lets batteries last up to six months in typical keyboard applications. Bidirectional communication makes it possible to encrypt transmitted data. An average latency of less than 8 milliseconds with four concurrent devices connected mean WirelessUSB is well-adapted for the gaming industry.

“WirelessUSB solves many of the issues designers face today in the HID market,” said Cathal Phelan, vice president of Cypress?s Personal Communications Division. “Current wireless HID technology has serious limitations, while Bluetooth is overkill for these applications. Cypress?s WirelessUSB products satisfy the three critical requirements for this market: power, price, and latency.”

Full production of the CY694X is scheduled for for the first quarter of next year. The chips are just $3.92 in high volume.

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