Here’s a nice piece about UWB. There are different visions of UWB right now, ranging from cable replacement to a full-scale IP network, so we don’t know how it’s going to play out. But recent agreements between WiMedia and Wireless USB and Bluetooth indicate it’s not going to be another powerline network.
UPDATE: I ran into a WiMedia officer to day who said he hadn’t seen this story, so I naturally enouraged him to check it out. It is Markoff, after all.
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:
Continue reading “FCC ruling favors WiMedia”
According to Freescale guy Matt Wellborn, UWB is faster, cheaper, and less power-hungry than 802.11n:
Current proposals for scaling 802.11 systems to higher rates (500 Mbits/s or more) in 802.11n are based on the continued use of 64-QAM. Scaling to higher rates will be enabled through the use of multiple-input-multiple-output (MIMO) techniques that use multiple antennas to send multiple data streams in parallel through the wireless channel. For this approach, the processing complexity also increases with data rate (FEC decode, FFT/iFFT, equalization, etc). There will also be increased complexity and power consumption due to the requirement for up to 4 transmit/receive processing chains (multiple ADC/DAC pairs, filters, amplifiers, etc).
As digital process technology scales, the digital portions of each system will scale much faster to lower cost and power. The significant analog potions of the system will scale more slowly and will thus have a proportionally bigger impact when these functions represent a larger portion of the implementation. The power consumption and area required for large ADCs and linear PAs becomes a bigger factor as digital technology scales in the future.
As we evaluate the two technologies for very high rate, low power applications, we see that the impact of system bandwidth is significant in many areas. As the narrowband designs are extended to higher rates, the use of high order modulation and multiple-antenna technologies can provide scalable and robust performance, but will also likely lead to increased complexity and power consumption. Systems that use wider bandwidths, such as DS-UWB, can use fundamentally different design approaches to provide wireless connectivity solutions that scale to even higher data rates with more scalable and lower complexity implementations.
Is he right?
More on UWB and the FCC at Techworld.com:
UWB is a challenge to regulators like the FCC and the UK’s Ofcom, which are accustomed to licensing most frequencies exclusively, because it spreads radio signals across a broad range of spectrum at low powers that are not expected to interfere with other radio equipment (see our explanation). The FCC has approved it, so long as it emits less radiation than devices such as PCs or CD players are already allowed to leak.
Of course the kicker on that radiation question is how you measure it, since the radiation emitted by a UWB system has a different spatial and temporal pattern than that emitted by a PC.
One of the takeaways from this story is that the 802 standards process is broken. It takes 75% to advance a proposal to the standards-writing phase and virtual unanimity to complete the standard. UWB has been in limbo for three years because neither side could get 75%, and 802.11e has been done for 18 months but not officially completed.
Too many people have too many agendas these days, and it’s too easy to derail the process.
I expect the breaking news of the FCC’s ruling should be on the WiMedia web site before the weekend.
Excellent business journalist Dana Blankenhorn says a ruling is expected from the FCC real soon now that will clarify MBOA’s legal status. The main issues is that MBOA uses frequency hopping to reduce emissions in each frequency band by lower duty cycle. The FCC has a hard time measuring frequency hoppers because they have clunky equipment, so they request FH be turned off for emission measurement purposes. This is trouble for MBOA because they only do FH in the first place to please the FCC. So it goes ’round and ’round.
The MBOA system is better than the Freescale DS-UWB because it can be tailored to operate in different regulatory domains where various services have to be avoided by the UWB transmitter – it divides spectrum up into chunks that can be enabled or disabled. DS-UWB is all-or-nothing, a simper design but illegal outside the US.
If the FCC requires MBOA to turn off FH and flunks them on account of it, we can look forward to a world where there is one UWB standard for the US and another for the rest of the world.
That would not be cool, of course.
Here are some handy links on the Wi-Media/MBOA merger we mentioned yesterday:
MBOA, WiMedia tie UWB knot (by Patrick Mannion)
Alliance Simplifies Ultrawideband Debate (by Mark Hachman)
“Ultrawideband Groups Merge” (by Eric Griffith)
Ultrawideband partners merge (by Rupert Goodwins)
ZDNet UK via Yahoo UK & Ireland News
“Ultra-Wideband Trade Groups Merge”
“WiMedia Alliance and MBOA-SIG Merge”
Wireless Design Online
“Alereon Voices Support for WiMedia and MBOA Merger” (Alereon)
Internet Telephony Magazine
Ultra-Wideband Wireless Products Move a Step Closer to Market Availability with Completion of Key Specifications (Intel)
Ultra-Wideband Wireless Closer (Intel) by Chris Roper
“Intel Drives UWB Spec” (Intel)
Glenn Fleishmann’s Wi-Fi Networking News scoops the MSM on the merger of the two leading UWB organizations:
The two leading industry groups for ultrawideband merge: The Multi-Band OFDM Alliance and the WiMedia Alliance are merging their two groups to align goals more fully and reduce the number of acronyms and institutions. The two groups have very similar general technology goals for UWB, and this leaves Motorola and Freescale even more in the lurch as the personal area networking (PAN) focus of WiMedia and the consumer electronics focus of MBOA come together.
While WiMedia and MBOA have been working together for a while, the formal merger leaves no doubt as to what the dominant UWB standard will be: Motorola/Freescale is out in the cold. While there are still some issues with the FCC’s stance on MBOA – no statement has been issued from the government so far – there’s little doubt that the MBOA’s approach is both technically superior and more widely supported, so the big buildout can commence without IEEE 802.15.3a endorsement.
And it has, if the demo of Wireless USB at the Intel conference is any guide.