UWB group certifies first products

The WiMedia Alliance has certified the first ultrawideband wireless chipsets.

The industry group behind UWB (ultrawideband) high-speed wireless has certified the first UWB chipsets, a move that helps usher in technologies including wireless USB and the next generation of Bluetooth.

UWB is the radio technology underlying those systems. It is designed to deliver 480M bps (bits per second) throughput over a range of a few meters, making data transfers among PCs, peripherals and consumer electronics equipment faster.

As data storage capacities grow, moving and synchronizing content among heavily loaded devices will take longer unless data-transfer speeds increase. Wired USB 2.0 already delivers as much as 480M bps, but consumers have grown used to connecting devices wirelessly through using IEEE 802.11 wireless LANs. UWB is better for close-range personal area networks than is 802.11, and it helps battery life with lower power consumption, according to supporting industry group, the WiMedia Alliance.

"If you don't want to wait hours to make a transaction, you need a very, very fast communication link," said Stephen Wood, president of the WiMedia Alliance.

WiMedia has certified chipsets from 12 vendors, including Intel, Alereon and Staccato Communications, that include the physical and MAC (media access control) layers for UWB radios. The certification means no matter what those radios are used for, they won't interfere with each other when operating in the same area, he said.

The certified chipsets, in turn, will go into devices that use higher layer protocols such as Bluetooth 3.0 and Wireless USB, Wood said. Third parties, such as the Wireless USB Implementers Forum and the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG), are responsible for certifying those implementations. In fact, the Wireless USB group already certified four products in July. The notebooks, adapters and hubs were approved after the essential testing had taken place on the UWB chipsets used in them, but the WiMedia Alliance took longer to finish its certification process, Wood said. The Bluetooth SIG plans to complete its 3.0 specification and start certifying products by the middle of next year.

UWB is good as far as it goes, but it's more important that short-range technologies become easier to use, said Avi Greengart of Current Analysis.

"Their engineers focused on fast, and there's a market for fast," Greengart said. But Bluetooth and even wireless LANs are fairly complicated for most people to use, even though there are some implementations that make them easier, such as on Apple's iPhone, he said.

UWB uses a wide range of frequencies and has triggered worries in some parts of the world about interference with other networks. But now it is legal for use in the European Union, Japan and Korea and is expected to be approved in China, Canada and Singapore by year's end, WiMedia's Wood said. It won't use the same frequencies in all those countries, but vendors should come out with devices that can be switched from one country's mode to another for people who want to roam, he said.

Once a critical mass of products gets into the market, UWB-based technologies could catch on, but the connections consumers are used to won't go away any time soon, Greengart said.

"It's not like every mobile phone maker will suddenly stop using regular Bluetooth," Greengart said.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Stephen Lawson

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?