MANHASSET, N.Y. In a turnabout, Intel and the WiMedia Alliance have agreed to sponsor and attend a meeting in San Diego later this month in an effort to accelerate the move toward international rules for ultrawideband signaling.
To date, the U.S. is the only nation that has established a spectral 'mask,' or set of rules for power limits and spectrum use. For many, that is recognized as the single biggest obstacle to UWB proliferation-- even in the U.S.-- as the volumes become questionable with just a single geographic market.
The meeting in San Diego (May 18 to 27), slated to take place under the auspices of the International Telecommunications Union, Radio's (ITU-R) task group 1/8, is the fifth meeting in a series. It is designed to educate international delegates on the characteristics of UWB in order that they can make an informed decision on masks for their own regions, though organizers hope that the mask defined by the Federal Communications Commission will be used as a template for whatever they decide.
While the last meeting last June in Boston was deemed a success, organizers have been disappointed over what has to date been a relatively lackluster response from the UWB community in the U.S., with neither the WiMedia Alliance or the UWB Forum taking an active role in the proceedings.
While one WiMedia Alliance member-- Staccato Communications-- originally intended to send a speaker, it too recently pulled out, though a spokesperson said the company remains committed to the regulatory process. All cite conflicts and bad timing as the reason, particularly with an IEEE 802 meeting taking place in Cairns, Australia, that same week.
However, all bodies concerned have grossly underestimated the importance of the meeting in San Diego, according to Gary Anderson, chairman of the USTG 1/8 executive committee and chairman and chief executive officer at Uraxs Communications Inc. (Boston, MA).
In a scathing letter to the UWB community at large on April 24, Anderson called the level of participation "shamefully low" and unwelcoming to the international guests. He went on to say, "we must be made aware that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to get all the regulators' attention simultaneously."
According to Anderson, if the meeting did not take place-- which was a possibility due to the lack of sponsorship— the global adoption of UWB could be set back years.
"The meeting is important as we need to make progress on this," said Craig Mathias, principal at Farpoint Group (Ashland, MA), who is presenting a discussion on UWB applications at the meeting. "The WiMedia Alliance made a 'slight' miscalculation in its original decision not to attend," he added.
However, that miscalculation has been corrected, according to Anderson, who is confident the tide may be turning, just in time. "It looks like Intel and the WiMedia camp are going to endorse the meeting and take a major position in the form of sponsorship. Their level of involvement in exhibits/demos and events is still being negotiated," he wrote in an email to EETimes. In a follow-up conversation, he said that their endorsement was 'very encouraging and critical to the meeting and the industry as a whole."
He added, "Now I hope they can get Microsoft to attend," referring to Friday's announcement by Microsoft that it had joined the WiMedia Alliance. WiMedia will take the slot vacated by Staccato.
Other key officials scheduled to attend include Mike Gallagher, assistant secretary general of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. FCC chairman Kevin Martin may also attend, said Anderson, though his office has not yet confirmed.