The Wireless Short List

Get ready to ditch your cords, your keys and even your credit cards: Short-range wireless protocols will soon give you ultimate remote control.

wn1104thewire_250x20.gif

Technology: ZigBee
Max. range bandwidth frequency: 300 ft./4x dial-up/2.4 GHz

What it can do: Control all your household appliances via remote

Why you should care: Uses very little power, saving batteries

How secure is it?: Very. Uses 128-bit encryption on a secure network

See it: Mid-2005

Technology: Bluetooth
Max. range bandwidth frequency: 30 ft./18x dial-up/2.4 GHz

What it can do: Link your cellphone to a wireless headset; print without using a USB cable

Why you should care: Gets rid of messy wires and cables between devices

How secure is it?: Not very. Many users leave their phones in "discoverable" mode

See it: Now

Technology: Ultra Wideband
Max. range bandwidth frequency: 30 ft./2,011x dial-up/3.1-10.6 GHz

What it can do: Transfer video from your digital camcorder to your TV sans cable

Why you should care: Enough bandwidth to stream video but uses little power

How secure is it?: Very. Uses 128-bit encryption and has no "discoverable" mode

See it: Early 2005

Technology: Near Field Communications
Max. range bandwidth frequency: 10 cm./8x dial-up/13.56 MHz

What it can do: Pay a vending machine with your cellphone; download an MP3 from a poster

Why you should care: No more fumbling for change

How secure is it?: Very. Uses encryption and PIN/passcode

See it: Early 2005

Technology: Skinplex
Max. range bandwidth frequency: 50 cm./1/3x dial-up/100 KHz

What it can do: Transfer data across your skin using your body's inherent electrical properties

Why you should care: Put a transceiver in your wallet, and open a car door by touch

How secure is it?: Not very. As with a key, if you lose it, anyone who finds it can use it

See it: 2007