Multiple monitors go wireless this year

Extra monitors will no longer mean extra cables, as DisplayLink is set to release a wireless version of its USB technology to hook up a desktop or notebook to multiple monitors before the end of 2008.

The Cambridge-based start-up told IT PRO that the first wireless devices, which will include USB adapters, universal docking stations and monitors, would come out in September or October.

DisplayLink have already showcased a wireless display adapter at CES 2008 which enabled PCs or notebooks to connect to multiple displays without the use of wires. It could have the potential to make a big difference at companies where multi-monitor technology was needed, such as financial institutions.

"A display connected using this wireless reference design feels and looks to a user exactly like a wired display," said Hamid Farzaneh, DisplayLink president and chief executive officer. "As evidenced by the proliferation of wireless mice and keyboards, the availability of this technology to bring the same freedom to monitors is just what original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) need to spur explosive growth in this market."

Researchers realised that wireless speeds needed to be fast enough to transfer high resolution as well as DVD quality playback. To do this, ultra-wideband company Alereon provided a worldwide Wi-Media alliance-certified chipset to work with DisplayLink's existing network display technology. It also meant that the resulting products will be compatible with future wireless USB-enabled notebook computers.

"Providing a standards-based design is critical for our OEM partners so they can be assured of compatibility with broadly available laptops and notebooks," said Eric Broockman, chief executive officer of Alereon. "Our partners require the combination of standards-based wireless technology, exceptional throughput and worldwide footprint to achieve mass adoption."

They also said the current wired technology now has support for Windows Vista, with a free software download available from its website.

Previously the technology could only work with older operating systems like Windows XP, but with the new downloadable software all DisplayLink equipment will be able to support the Windows Vista Aero 3D interface. DisplayLink said that this was very important, not only because Windows Vista was being taken up by more businesses but also because the 3D 'glass effect' of Vista would look better in a multiple display environment.