Thursday, 29 January 2009
Ultra Wide Band (UWB) wireless technology offers new capabilities over other wireless standards. It could potentially offer high speed short distance communications (for example over a metre or so between devices) while able to still achieve lower throughput over longer distances. It is also capable of providing radar type positioning information at short distances. But there is a danger that this technology will no longer get off the ground. It took a long while for spectrum to be made available in parts of the world outside the USA, although this now has been partially resolved, but maybe too late. The Bluetooth standards group had seemingly been interested in combining with UWB but this interest seems to have waned and instead there is now talk of an alliance with WiFi standards instead. Since 2007, four chip manufacturers have halted activity on UWB chips. It would be a pity if the drawbridge is pulled up on UWB in the current difficult economic climate. More innovative products need this sort of wireless capability. Let us hope that some companies take the plunge so that demand rises and UWB can live again.