UWB Getting Closer

…but don’t hold off buying your WiFi card just yet. In April, Techdirt looked at how UWB was at risk of being sentenced to death-by-standards-body. But now, in a stunningly quick turnaround, the number of proposed technology implementations for UWB has dropped from 23 to just six. The biggest shake-up is from the recent alliance of giants Intel and TI, who have combined their (vested interest laden) proposals into one. The IEEE committee was to whittle down the number of proposals from the 23 this week, but some insiders are speculating that with only 6 dossiers in front of them, they may actually select the winner. I’m less optimistic about choosing a winner this week, but believe we’re on track for real UWB products by 2005.

In the long term, Ultra-Wideband technology could potentially pose a threat to existing wireless standards like Bluetooth and wider-range technologies like Wi-Fi and cellular, depending on the power limitations the FCC imposes. UWB promises higher throughputs using lower power, and without the absolute requirement for licensed spectrum. Whether this promise delivers is uncertain, but it could potentially have a massively disruptive effect on communications – and whether that’s good or bad depends on who you are.

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