Wireless Systems Design

Virtual USB Cable Hits The Street

A new wireless-communications product line, dubbed CableFree USB, promises to create a virtual cable. This virtual cable will allow PCs, notebooks, and peripherals with a USB port to communicate wirelessly. Targeted at the installed base of legacy PCs and peripherals, the patent-pending CableFree USB product line offers a wireless replacement that complements USB ubiquity and operation. It offers extended functionality and long-range cordless convenience. CableFree USB also permits manufacturers to develop bundled, easy-to-use retail products that bring consumers a simple, inexpensive way to eliminate clumsy cords and cable clutter in their homes or offices.

CableFree USB is a fully interoperable, self-contained solution with built-in software. It complies with conventional USB 1.1 standard protocols while deploying a 2.4-GHz communications link. As an added advantage, CableFree USB is inherently secure. Both ends of the connection are paired together for PC and peripheral compatibility. At the same time, it provides users with increased privacy in their communications.

The first product in the CableFree USB family is MT0760-CF. Optimized for printers, it supports the print modes and operations of Hewlett Packard, Lexmark, Epson, and Canon devices. Two versions of the product are available: one with wireless print capability to 30 ft. and one with a range of up to 100 ft.

The MT0760-CF supports a standard data-rate throughput of up to 140 kbps. This rate is comparable to the full-speed operation of a home printer using an RS-232 cable. When packaged by manufacturers for retail, the CableFree USB consumer kit is expected to include two adapters with built-in software, a power supply, and an optional connector adapter. Now available, the product's retail price tag is expected to be under $79.

CableFree USB chips, reference designs, and bundles are also available. The MT0760-CF30 bundle (with wireless print capability to 30 ft.) and the MT0760-CF100 bundle (with wireless print capability to 100 ft.), each include two adapters, software, and plastics. The OEM price for the MT0760-CF30 and the MT0670-CF100 is $30 and $35, respectively, in volumes of 100,000.

Microtune, Inc.
2201 10th St., Plano, TX 75074; (972) 673-1600, FAX: (972) 673-1602, www.microtune.com.

TAGS: Components
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