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1394 Trade Association Completes New 1394 Wireless Specification

``Wireless FireWire'' Ballot Set for January 2004 (December 24, 2003)
The 1394 Trade Association's Wireless Working Group announced earlier this month that the specification for Wireless 1394 applications is functionally complete and ready for a ballot as early as January 2004.

Formal approval of the new Protocol Adaptation Layer (PAL) standard will move consumers one significant step closer to controlling home networks, HDTVs, and other advanced electronics systems wirelessly, just as they now use remote controls to change TV channels or audio output.

The Wireless Working Group, chaired by Peter Johansson of Congruent Software, Inc., has developed the PAL between the IEEE 802.15.3 MAC and applications developed for wired IEEE 1394. The PAL also adapts the IEEE P1394.1 bridging specification to wireless use. The result is a 'wireless FireWire' capability, which can be implemented with any standard or non-standard physical layer, including as yet non-standardized Ultra Wideband PHYs.

"Wireless FireWire is going to be ready to go in 2004, and early," said James Snider, executive director of the 1394 Trade Association. "The new wireless 1394 specification is an excellent product developed by a very dedicated group of Trade Association leaders in a remarkably short period of time. The group adapted the 1394 and P1394.1 bridging standards to the high bandwidth wireless network connectivity enabled by 802.15.3, and assured the quality of service required for exciting new products that will let consumers wirelessly manage digital televisions, audio-visual equipment and home networks."

According to Johansson, the Working Group during its efforts to assure quality of service guidelines, determined that the IEEE 1394 infrastructure can be easily adapted to IEEE 802.15.3, incorporating the significant amount of existing middleware required to enable important multimedia applications, such as audio and video streaming.

An important section in the PAL specification describes how to construct IEEE P1394.1 bridges that incorporate a wired IEEE 1394 node on one side and a wireless IEEE 802.15.3 device on the other. "This means the wireless devices are now 'bridge aware,' so they can be integrated easily and quickly into home networks, allowing users to add wireless controls just as they now use remote controls with their televisions and other consumer electronics equipment," he said.

Johansson was named Chair of the Wireless Working Group in October, replacing John Fuller of Sony Corporation. The WWG was formed in 2001 under the original leadership of Steve Bard of Intel Corporation. Johansson has served as the Trade Association's Architecture Chair since the organization's foundation in 1994. Other key members of the group include Bob Heile, president of Appairent, Inc. and Allen Heberling of Xtreme Spectrum, who chaired the PAL task group.

The IEEE 802.15.3 Wireless Personal Area Network standard is designed to connect more than 200 wireless devices. Although the existing standard 2.4 GHz PHY is limited to a maximum data rate of 55M bits/sec, work is underway to standardize a UWB PHY with a range of data rates between 110 and 480M bits/sec. These higher UWB PHY data rates are ideal for enabling multiple wireless devices to exchange multimedia content such as video, audio, and digital images.

The 1394 Trade Association is a worldwide organization dedicated to the enhancement and advancement of the 1394/FireWire standard. The association maintains a rigorous compatibility and interoperability program, and supports more than a dozen technical work groups. For more information and a complete list of all products incorporating IEEE 1394, visit

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Related Keywords:1394 Trade Association, Wireless 1394 applications, ballot, January 2004

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