Media Agnostic (MA) USB specification to allow Wi-Fi devices communicate over USB

The USB Implementers Forums (USB-IF) is working on a new specification dubbed Media Agnostic (MA) USB specification that would enable wireless devices as well as docking stations to communicate using the USB protocol without actually requiring a USB port.

The MA USB spec will make use of the WiGig high-speed wireless standard, which has been transferred from Wi-Fi Alliance to USB-IF as a part of the Alliance’s efforts to work with third parties to make use of WiGig. The WiGig standard is capable of achieving greater speeds than traditional Wi-Fi and it uses the unlicensed 60GHz frequencies.

The MA spec will make use of existing USB 2.0 and 3.0 drivers and APIs. Use of USB 3.0 will ensure that the new specification is compatible with new devices. The new standard can work for all general purpose uses like its port based counterpart – like transfer of data, backup, linking peripherals to a PC, etc. A Media Agnostic USB Work Group has also been established by USB-IF and it has been entrusted with development of MA USB specification 1.0.

The WiGig standard from Wi-Fi Alliance is also capable of carrying video and audio at high speeds. With upto 7Gbps transfer speeds, the WiGig standard definitely provides a huge speed boost – but over short distances only. WiGig was proposed back in 2009 and it has backing of major vendors like Microsoft, Intel and Samsung.

“We are pleased to see the USB-IF use the WiGig Serial Extension in its development of the Media Agnostic USB specification,” said Edgar Figueroa, president and CEO of Wi-Fi Alliance in a press release.

“Advanced wireless usages of serial bus technology have the potential to deliver great benefit to users,” Figueroa added.