Wi-Fi & Wireless USB: harmony or deathmatch?

Manufacturers such as Belkin will offer Wireless USB devices later in the year

A leading analyst has warned of an impending battle between wireless communication technologies. With Ofcom deregulating Ultra-Wideband (UWB), the radio technology is now not only competing with established technology such as Wi-Fi, but also with different incarnations of itself.

UWB is set to encompass Wireless USB as well as various home entertainment wireless technologies, including wireless variants of audio and visual technologies such as HDMI.

Analyst In-Stat says that despite the current mass adoption of Wi-Fi in peripherals and consumer electronics, UWB sales will "overtake Wi-Fi volume in the near future". However, the analyst believes that Wi-Fi and UWB will continue to co-exist in PCs as complimentary technologies.

In-Stat points out that most so-called "digital interconnects" are first adopted in PCs and then by consumer electronics manufacturers. "Like USB versus 1394 (FireWire), the outcome of the battle between Ultra-Wideband (UWB) solutions will be determined by the PC platform," says Qasim Inam, an In-Stat analyst.

Transition to UWB

He also points out that the growth of mobile PCs and smartphones will boost the transition to UWB technologies. The adoption of UWB technology on the PC will determine the winner of the competing UWB standards.

Interestingly, In-Stat believes that physical PC connections will be with us for some time to come. But the majority of users should make the transition to UWB-powered methods in a relatively short amount of time.

Feature: Ultra-Wideband will change your digital home


Dan (Twitter, Google+) is TechRadar's Former Deputy Editor and is now in charge at our sister site T3.com. Covering all things computing, internet and mobile he's a seasoned regular at major tech shows such as CES, IFA and Mobile World Congress. Dan has also been a tech expert for many outlets including BBC Radio 4, 5Live and the World Service, The Sun and ITV News.