Ultrawideband: A Better Bluetooth
Outlook: The wireless personal-area network technology is more than 100 times faster than Bluetooth, but business applications are still a long way off.
Computerworld - Ultrawideband wireless technology has been called "Bluetooth on steroids." Like Bluetooth, its personal-area network (PAN) cousin, UWB is designed to replace cables with short-range, wireless connections, but it offers the much higher bandwidth needed to support multimedia data streams at very low power levels. And because UWB can communicate both relative distance and position, it can be used for tracking equipment, containers or other objects.
In a recent technology demonstration, Freescale Semiconductor Inc. in Tempe, Ariz., showed a UWB device that transmitted at a data rate of 110Mbit/sec. at a range of up to 10 meters. That bandwidth100 times faster than Bluetooth and twice the capacity of the fastest Wi-Fi networksis enough to pump three concurrent video streams over a single UWB connection. Vendors are promising UWB products that support speeds up to 1Gbit/sec.
Waiting for UWB
While the prospect of 100Mbit/sec. data transfers is exciting, UWB is probably three or more years away from widespread adoption, especially for business use, according to chip makers and analysts. Government regulators outside the U.S. haven't approved the use of UWB, and standards bodies are arguing over the final specification.
Craig Mathias, an analyst at Farpoint Group in Ashland, Mass., predicts that the first products with UWB chips, designed for home theater applications, will debut next year. Mass adoption of the technology won't come until 2007, he says.
Business applications, when they come, will center on UWB as a replacement for the Universal Serial Bus standard, says Ken Dulaney, an analyst at Gartner Inc. in Stamford, Conn. UWB could be used to easily connect several laptops to a single projector to handle video or slide presentations, or it could be used to back up large files quickly, he says. Eventually, workers could carry a portable storage device equipped with a system image and UWB connectivity. Users would be able to sit down at any workstation, connect via UWB and start working.
"It's very, very significant technology, and UWB is a guaranteed win," adds Mathias, noting that 50 companies are making UWB chips, including heavyweights like Intel Corp. But vendors have yet to agree on a standard. Intel is backing one camp, while another industry giant, Motorola Inc. (through its Freescale subsidiary), is backing the other.
UWB faces serious regulatory hurdles as well, "so it's hard for it to move forward," Mathias says. The U.S. is the only country to approve spectrum for use by UWB radios. Regulators worry that UWB will interfere with a range of other wireless devices that operate in the same spectrum, including cell phones, says Steven Wood, a strategy planner at Intel.
- Best iPhone, iPad Business Apps for 2014
- 14 Tech Conventions You Should Attend in 2014
- 10 Desktop Apps to Power Your Windows PC
- How to Add New Job Skills Without Going Back to School
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- The High-Performance WAN Find out what are some of the top problems associated with large WANs and the technologies typically used to solve them.
- Building Your Network Management Toolset Network Management is one of things that is sometimes overlooked make sure you don't. Find out how to take advantage of it and...
- Optimizing the Network The network has become a utility that users can't do without. Mobility and bandwidth-hungry apps demand faster and more efficient networks.
- Ultra-Low-Latency Networking In a world where so much trading is systematic, millisecond delays matter. Low-latency, high-performance networking, therefore, has become a competitive imperative.
- Live Webcast Best Practices for the Hyperconverged Enterprise Network To the Age of Constant Connectivity and Information overload
- Live Webcast On-demand webinar: "Mobility Mayhem: Balancing BYOD with Enterprise Security" Check out this on-demand webinar to hear Sophos senior security expert John Shier deep dive into how BYOD impacts your enterprise security strategy...
- Live Webcast Endpoint Backup & Restore: Protect Everyone, Everywhere Arek Sokol from the bleeding-edge IT team at Genentech/Roche explains how he leverages cross-platform enterprise endpoint backup in the public cloud as part...
- Application Acceleration: Optimize the End-User Experience Watch this on-demand webcast and learn how you can optimize your web content, accelerate performance across any device and browser combination, and offload...
- Making Your Application Delivery Environment Cloud-Ready Join Kavitha Mariappan, Director of Product Marketing at Riverbed Technology, and Bob Laliberte, Senior Analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group, as they discuss the...