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Despite Challenges, UWB To Flourish: Analyst

The recent collapse of the UWB standards process was widely seen as a major challenge, an ABI report says, but removing the standards "shackles" will actually allow the technology to thrive.

David Haskin

May 15, 2006

2 Min Read

Despite a lack of a single standard, ultra-wideband (UWB) short-range wireless technology is poised to grow dramatically, according to a study released Monday by ABI Research.

The study predicted that almost 300 million devices equipped with UWB will ship in 2011 even though the standard-setting process for UWB broke down last year and there currently are two competing standards.

"The collapse of the UWB standards process was widely seen as a major faux pas," ABI Research principal analyst Stuart Carlaw said in a statement. "But those inside the industry viewed it as the shackles being removed."

Carlaw noted that the Bluetooth SIG, the trade organization of Bluetooth vendors, recently embraced the standard by the WiMedia Alliance and plans to eventually incorporate that it into Bluetooth. Besides smoothing out the standards problem, that also will make it easier for UWB to receive worldwide regulatory support, Carlaw said. Different nations have said they'd support UWB, but in a differing portions of the wireless spectrum.

That has the potential of crippling adoption of UWB, but ABI Research predicted that all nations would eventually settle on enabling UWB to operate in the spectrum range between 7 Ghz and 10 Ghz.

Unlike Wi-Fi, UWB offers higher bandwidth but far shorter range, making it more suitable, along with Bluetooth, for cable replacement and applications such as short-range peer-to-peer connections. The Bluetooth SIG has said it intends to harmonize its technology with UWB.

Despite its bullish long-term assessment for UWB, the ABI Research study said that UWB chipset vendors still must drive down costs, get a better handle on power consumption and make chipsets smaller before the technology can become a true success.

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