Now that Ofcom has deregulated Ultra-Wideband, everyone - including us - rejoiced that Wireless USB would soon be upon us. But there's one small problem. According to peripheral manufacturer Belkin, not even some manufacturers knew it was going to happen so soon. And that's not all. Belkin says it is having to trudge back to its R&D labs to mod its hardware for the European market.
At yesterday's Playbite event in London, we asked Belkin's sales and marketing director, Robin Falconer, whether he expected Wireless USB to be upon us so soon. "Not as quick," he replied. "The last official notification we had was that all the official reviews and documents would close on 19 August. But bang it went Friday. It's good news - hey, I wish more would happen like that.
"We're waiting for the UK government to tick it, then we can produce."
Wireless USB in the UK?
What's more is that Belkin won't be able to sell the kit it has prepped for the US market on this side of the pond. "In the States at the moment, this runs on 3.1 to 10GHz," said Falconer, holding the company's Wireless USB hub and adapter. "And we thought that's what would be ratified here - that we'd just have to change the power supply and ship. What they've done though, is they've only ratified from 4.2 to 4.8Ghz."
That's not strictly true. Ofcom has, according to our Wireless USB expert Adam Oxford, exempted the full spectrum from 1.6Ghz to 10Ghz from licencing. "That particular part of the spectrum [between 4.2 to 4.8Ghz] has been approved for higher emissions until 2010, by which time its expected better manufacturing will require lower outputs."
But weren't the floodgates supposed to open after Ofcom made its announcement? "That's what everyone, absolutely everyone thought - that's what we thought" said Falconer. "And it's really confusing, because they've said you don't need a licence, but that it must operate within this band."
So when can we expect Belkin's Wireless USB kit to be available here? "At the moment our gurus are telling us, three months and it'll be in store."
Feature: Ultra-Wideband will change your digital home
Also see: Wireless USB: harmony or deathmatch?