FCC ruling favors WiMedia

Today’s FCC ruling is a green-light for WiMedia/MBOA/Intel/TI, but to hear Freescale you’d think it was exactly what they wanted.

Let’s be clear, it wasn’t. Freescale hoped the ruling would bar the WiMedia system from the marketplace, and it didn’t. This is pretty much the death-knell for Freescale’s UWB product line unless they can find a new niche, and there are no two ways about it.

UPDATE: Here’s the WiMedia press release:

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SAN RAMON, CALIF.—March 10, 2005—The WiMedia Alliance, which recently merged with the MultiBand OFDM Alliance Special Interest Group (MBOA-SIG), announced today that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has granted the MBOA-SIG’s request for waiver of certain measurement procedures for the multiband orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (OFDM) standard for ultra wideband (UWB). The waiver paves the way for companies producing UWB devices compliant with the MBOA specifications to get FCC certification for shipment. It also enables widespread commercial shipments of products built on the WiMedia-MBOA platform—which include applications such as Wireless USB, Wireless 1394 and wireless IP—for unlicensed operation within the United States.

“The FCC has been very thorough in analyzing the OFDM approach to UWB,” said Stephen R. Wood, president of the WiMedia Alliance. “The WiMedia-MBOA is extremely pleased to have been given the green light to pursue this innovative technology. The FCC’s decision will help promote worldwide acceptance of UWB while enabling many new and exciting products from world leading consumer electronics, mobile and PC manufacturers that support the WiMedia-MBOA. ”

The FCC’s decision underscores the tremendous economic and quality-of-life benefits that UWB technology will bring to the U.S. In fact, recent Parks Associates research indicates that the market for UWB chips and gear will top $1 billion by 2008—implying new opportunities for all related industries.

What is UWB?

UWB is a wireless communications technology that operates in the 3.1 to 10.6 GHz spectrum band. Advantages of UWB include low power consumption, very low cost/complexity with high data rates (capable of exceeding more than 1 Gbps over-the-air) and precision location capability.

Targeting emerging wireless personal area network (WPAN) communications, UWB specifications power high-speed, short-range, cable-free connectivity for a wide array of multimedia consumer electronics, personal computer peripherals and mobile devices.

About the FCC’s Order and Report on Ultra Wideband

Recognizing the potential benefits that new, UWB-based products could offer to public safety, enterprise and consumer applications, the FCC authorized in 2002 UWB operations in the 3.1 GHz to 10.6 GHz spectrum bands (FCC 02-48). The FCC defined a specific minimum bandwidth of 500 MHz at a -10dB level. This minimum bandwidth in conjunction with other requirements of the FCC ruling protects incumbent users of the spectrum.

About the WiMedia Alliance

In March 2005, the WiMedia Alliance and MultiBand OFDM Alliance (MBOA) SIG joined to establish the WiMedia-MBOA—a not-for-profit open industry association formed to promote and enable the rapid adoption and standardization of ultra wideband (UWB) worldwide for high-speed wireless, multimedia-capable personal-area connectivity in the PC, CE and mobile market segments. Emphasizing peaceful coexistence with other wireless services, the WiMedia-MBOA develops the specifications as well as the marketing, certification and interoperability programs required to bring the power and potential of multiband frequencybased UWB to the industry. Led by Alereon, HP, Intel, Kodak, Nokia, Philips, Samsung Electronics, Sharp, STMicroelectronics, Staccato Communications, Texas Instruments and Wisair, members include many of the most influential players in the consumer electronics, personal computing, home entertainment, mobile phone, semiconductor and digital imaging spaces.

For more information, please visit www.wimedia.org.