[Wireless Japan] USB 2.0 Goes Wireless with Infrared Communication

Jul 16, 2009
Shinya Saeki, Nikkei Electronics
The concept image of the new wireless system
The concept image of the new wireless system
[Click to enlarge image]

KDDI R&D Laboratories Inc announced July 14, 2009, that it developed a system to wirelessly transmit USB 2.0 signals by using wireless infrared technology.

The company said that the system will eliminate the need to use a USB cable for data communication between a mobile device and a PC.

The newly developed technology converts USB 2.0 electrical signals to infrared signals and wirelessly transmits them by using the "USB-infrared converter" attached to a USB host and a USB device. The converter is mounted with an infrared communication module whose transmission speed is 1Gbps.

According to the USB 2.0 specifications, response signals must be sent back within 1.5μs after data is transmitted between a USB host and a USB device. Because it normally takes more than 1.5μs to convert electrical signals to infrared signals, it is impossible to transmit data just by converting signals.

This time, KDDI R&D Laboratories equipped the USB-infrared converter with the "virtual USB device/host function," which generates response signals. As a result, the USB host recognizes that it is communicating with the USB device without delay.

With the new system, the USB-infrared converter is externally attached to a USB host and a USB device. But, in the future, it will become possible to embed the converter in a device, KDDI R&D Laboratories said. The company is now standardizing the related technologies at IrDA (Infrared Data Association), which formulates standards of wireless infrared communications.

The company will exhibit the new system at Wireless Japan 2009, which will take place from July 22 to 24, 2009, at Tokyo Big Sight.