Will New Ultra-wideband Wireless Technology Fail?

A new study says the lack of standard, high cost of chipsets and competing technology could lead UWB to flop.

InformationWeek Staff, Contributor

November 8, 2004

1 Min Read

A lack of standards and high price are threatening to make a bust of ultra-wideband (UWB) wireless technology, according to an ABI Research study released Monday.

The study notes that it is starting to look like the standards battle between two factions of UWB vendors won't be resolved. The two sides, represented by the UWB Forum and the MBOA Alliance, look like they'll simply sell UWB chipsets that use differing standards.

"This implies that UWB devices will not interoperate, so the consumer better know the difference," Alan Varghese, author of the report. "That's not good news."

In addition, the conventional wisdom was that UWB would succeed if chipsets cost manufacturers $3, but it looks like the price will be closer to $14, according to Varghese. In addition, current solutions have three chips, which may be too large for many devices.

Making matters even worse for UWB as a technology is that it eventually will face strong competition from other wireless technologies such as 802.11n. Because of these problems, UWB vendors must get their act together or face failure, Varghese said.

"UWB vendors better enter the market with all-CMOS designs, integrate to one chip quickly, then scale rapidly down in process geometry to prove that UWB truly is a low-cost technology," he concluded.

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