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Wireless USB coming soon …

If a wide-ranging group of tech companies is to be believed, we’ll get to fall all over ourselves buying those new WUSB products in 2007.

Companies like Agilent, Tektronix, Alereon, and Realtek are all working on this technology, which is a big hint that it’s coming soon. According to one report, many of these companies already have chip sets and single-chip solutions out in the lab, being examined.

The stumbling block thus far in implementation has been interoperability. USB is not USB all around the world, even though it seems that way. Certain vendors make physical (PHY) interface solutions; others make media access controllers (MACs). The trick is to get them to work together.

When you have pre-designed cables doing this for you, you don’t notice it so much. But take the cables away and you depend on the wireless transmitter and receiver to communicate. The tests thus far have proved that such communication is possible.

More testing and retesting will take place, likely for the rest of 2006, as manufacturers refine the process and hew to the standards set forth by a consortium called the WiMedia Alliance, which is directing the worldwide effort. Microsoft is already onboard, promising that drivers for Vista and further Windows XP updates will comply.

We recommend holding on to those dongles and printer cables for a little while longer, at least until next summer. By that time, you might be able to charge your iPod without using a cable.

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