USB standards body announces the completion of new wireless USB specification

By on March 19, 2014, 11:30 AM
usb, wireless usb, ma-usb

The USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) has announced the completion of a new wireless USB standard. Known officially as Media Agnostic (MA) USB v1.0, the specification hopes to find more success than its predecessor. Wait, there’s already been one wireless USB standard?

MA-USB is designed to enable devices to achieve wireless gigabit transfer rates while leveraging existing USB infrastructure. The standard supports multiple media types including Wi-Fi operating in 2.4 and 5 Ghz, WiGig operating in 60Ghz, WiMedia UWB radios operating between 3.1-10.6Ghz and other existing or new wired or wireless media types that want to use the USB protocol as the transport.

MA-USB is compliant with SuperSpeed USB (USB 3.1 and USB 3.0) and is also backwards-compatible with USB 2.0. Supported devices can be identified using the “Powered by MA-USB” branding, the standards body said in a press release on the matter.

A similar wireless standard known as Wireless USB hit the market in 2007 which used WiMedia UWB radios exclusively. Aside from a few rogue devices, the standard never gained traction and ultimately faded from existence. The broader wireless approach of MA-USB should at least give it a fighting change in the market.

MA-USB also has another thing going for it: it doesn’t require new hardware. So long as your device supports Wi-Fi, it should work. All that’ll be needed is an updated driver.

Any bets on whether or not the second coming of wireless USB technology takes hold?

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