No strings attached: DisplayLink’s wireless USB monitors
By Kyle Sherer
December 11, 2007
December 12, 2007 It's no secret that hooking up multiple monitors to a computer provides a clear productivity improvement and DisplayLink is aiming to make the setup even more efficient by incorporating Wireless USB technology into their designs. Alereon and DisplayLink have announced the availability of a reference design for a Wireless USB display adapter, which Alereon will display at the Consumer Electronics Show in January 2008. The reference design will enable PC accessory Original Equipment Manufacturers to develop wireless display connectivity adapters and related products.
It’s now common for a home PC to be equipped with a wireless mouse and keyboard, but DisplayLink hopes that wireless monitors will have a larger effect on computer use. The company argues a point which most of us who have used multiple screens would agree with - having multiple, wireless monitors can streamline multitasking by allowing users to have different programs open at different resolutions and with little to no delay. Unlike fiddly, analog VGA connections, DisplayLink USB technology is simple to assemble, and delivers a consistent, high quality result. The Wireless USB design transfers information at fast ultra-wideband speeds, and supports resolutions of up to 1680 x 1050, with 16.7 million colors and smooth DVD video playback.
The reference design pairs Alereon’s Worldwide WiMedia Alliance-certified AL5000 chipset with DisplayLink’s network display technology. It is the only design available that allows manufacturers to produce a Wireless USB adapter that meets all international regulatory requirements, and all products based on it will be compatible with future Wireless USB enabled notebook computers from major PC vendors.
The Wireless USB design has appeared on the heels of DisplayLink and LG Electronics’ European presentation of the FlatronWide L206WU Windows Vista compatible USB computer monitor. The FlatronWide is a 20 inch monitor that features high-performance HD graphics display over a standard USB 2.0 link. Enabled by the DisplayLink DL-160 network display chip, the monitor also offers wide-screen 1680x1050 resolution for full-screen display of rich graphics and playback of widescreen video.
The FlatronWide has a multi-port USB hub built into the display that allows up to three LG FlatronWide monitors to be connected to a single PC, while consuming only one USB 2.0 port on the computer. Future improvements will enable up to six monitors to be connected to a single PC over USB 2.0.
Alereon’s AL5000 Worldwide Wireless USB chipset integrates all of the essential RF circuitry, including synthesizer VCO/PLL, anti-alias filters, LNAs and transmit/receive (T/R) switches, Media Access Controller (MAC) and Baseband Processor (BBP). The chipset is bundled with all the firmware and software drivers necessary to develop a worldwide Wireless USB product covering the entire WiMedia spectrum from 3.1 GHz to 10.6 GHz.
DisplayLink technology is comprised of high-performance Hardware Rendering Engine (HRE) network display chips and Virtual Graphics Card (VGC) software that powers high-quality, fully interactive 32-bit true-color graphics with real-time video playback across a USB link. They are designed for monitor manufacturers, PC OEMs and PC accessory companies who want to develop easy to use high performance products such as USB-connected monitors, video-capable USB laptop docking stations, Skype video phones, picture frames, and other devices. The company’s adaptive compression algorithm and graphics protocol can also transmit graphics over other standard network interfaces, including wireless USB, Ethernet or Wi-Fi.
Video demonstration of the Wireless monitor technology can be seen here.
Video demonstration of six monitors connected to one computer can be seen here.