Wireless PCI Express connectivity to arrive next year

By Matthew Smith on July 15, 2010, 11:40 AM
Atheros and Wilocity have announced a partnership that will see the companies producing tri-band wireless devices capable of operating both at the 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies used by 802.11n, as well as the 60GHz frequency required by upcoming WiGig systems. Besides combining the ubiquity and coverage of Wi-Fi with multi-gigabit speeds, the move will enable many new applications, among which there will be products featuring wireless PCI Express technology.

The technology will make it possible to remotely connect any device that would normally use a PCIe connection, including eSATA, Firewire, USB controllers. These devices would sit on the PCIe slots of a separate "DockingZone" and have their signals beamed to a receiver card on your notebook. It is also conceivable that a video card could use this connection to provide external graphics acceleration. That said, speed is initially expected to be around 5Gbps. While that blows away Wireless N's maximum of 600Mbps, it's still not fast enough for a serious video card.

Since the spec is compatible with current wireless networks, one adapter can be used for both networking and wireless PCIe connectivity. That makes it more likely to catch on with customers. The technology is also transparent to operating systems, which means remote PCIe devices will appear as if they were all installed locally on your machine.

Sampling will not take place until next year, so don't expect to see wPCIe available until mid to late 2011 at the earliest.

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