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Wednesday, March 21, 2018
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The new TimeSync Wi-Fi

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

A new Wi-Fi feature could enable devices like wireless speakers, automotive cameras, and wearable sensors for hospital patients to better coordinate their timing. TimeSync, as it is called, would let devices work in alignment on tasks like streaming audio into different rooms of a house without distortion.

The new feature is designed to ensure that the clocks in electronic devices are synchronized down to less thana microsecond, letting wireless speakers on different sides of a living room, for instance, could play audioat the same time during a movie. If the connected speakers are out of synch, the audio can echo or lag behind the movie.

The Wi-Fi Alliance announced the new feature on Tuesday in Las Vegas at the International CES, formerly known as Consumer Electronics Show, where smart wireless speakers like the Amazon Echo factored into multiple product announcements. A TimeSync certification program will appear later this year, but semiconductor firms will have to create new Wi-Fi chipsincluding the feature.

The wireless audio industry hasgrappled with time synchronization for years.Sonos was among the first to crack the problem, usinga mesh networking version ofWi-Fithat allowswireless speakers to coordinate their audio. Others have worked on a technology that sharesaudio by linking devices together in a loop and skipping wireless messages between them. But it still remains a key challenge,said JawardHaider, marketing manager at Marvell Semiconductor, in a recent interview with Electronic Design.

TimeSync is initially targeting wireless audio applications, but it could also benefit industrial and automotive systems. It could coordinate wireless microcontrollers in a fleet of tractors harvesting corn on a farm, while also sending equipment diagnostics to the internet. It could also potentially link automotive cameras to help cars avoid obstacles in the road.

The Wi-Fi Alliance has started adding a number of new capabilities to standard in recent years. In 2015, it announced Wi-Fi Aware, a feature that allows devices to automatically identify nearby devices without connecting to the internet. Last year, itrevealed plans to createa low-power standard for 2018 called HaLow, which would serve as an alternative to cellular networks for linking sensors.

By: DocMemory
Copyright 2017 CST, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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