Hardware maker to offer UWB-enabled PCs

Taiwanese hardware maker Micro-Star International (MSI) will add UWB (Ultra Wideband) connectivity to its Mega PC line of small...

Taiwanese hardware maker Micro-Star International (MSI) will add UWB (Ultra Wideband) connectivity to its Mega PC line of small form-factor computers before the end of the year.

The card will ship with some Mega PC models and will also be available separately as an add-in card, said Thomas Ho, a senior engineer in MSI's Communication Departmentat the Computex 2004 exhibition in Taipei.

MSI demonstrated how wireless UWB can be used to stream video from one computer to another. The demonstration employed two UWB modules based on a chipset from Freescale Semiconductor which were connected to two PCs by IEEE1394 connections.

The UWB demonstration is based on a flavour of UWB called DS-UWB (Direct Sequence UWB). The demonstration is capable of supporting data transmission up to 114Mbps, Ho said, noting that the UWB-enabled PCs - to ship later this year - will be capable of much faster transmission rates.

The Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) specification for UWB is expected to be finalised in October; the result could be a specification that supports transfer rates up to 1Gbps.

While UWB-enabled PCs will ship by the end of the year, Ho expected only limited usefulness for this high-speed capability because of the limited number of devices that will support the technology.

Initially, MSI expected the function to only be used for transferring data between desktop PCs. For now, the company has no plans to offer a UWB card designed for notebooks.

Sumner Lemon writes for IDG News Service

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