Wireless USB can be used to route visuals to a remote display, but it’s not exactly synonymous with video. Leveraging the Ultra-WideBand radio frequency, this standard is best used to gather peripheral devices (such as digital cameras, printers, and external monitors) and broadcast the signal to a nearby PC outfitted with a Wireless USB adapter. Though wired USB is the workhorse of device connectivity, the wire-free alternative can’t be used to move data such as photos or music from, say, a smart phone to a notebook because the Wireless USB standard requires additional radio hardware that won’t fit well into smaller gadgets. Wi-Fi-based protocols such as DLNA and Universal Plug-and-Play (UPnP) are better suited for those types of connections. Wireless USB’s short signal strength is another limitation. At 10 feet apart, it can obtain data transfer speeds up to 480 Mbps (the same as USB 2.0), but the connection weakens at larger distances. Wireless USB is optimal at 10 to 20 feet.
Available Gear: To set up a remote display with Wireless USB, use Cables Unlimited HDMI/VGA to Wireless USB Adapter ($199; www.cablesunlimited.com).
What’s next: Look for the Wireless USB 1.1 specification to hit shelves in late 2011 or early 2012. It will include interoperability for the 6 GHz radio frequency, making the standard eligible for use in international markets. Wireless USB expects more products as a result of the uptick.
Good for offices with many stationary peripherals
Does not interfere with or dilute Wi-Fi network strength
Slower speeds than competing technologies
Limited 20-foot range
Not built into phones or tablets
Only a handful of available products