LONDON The Bluetooth Special Interest Group has settled on a version of ultrawideband to propel forward. The SIG will create a high-speed version of the WiMedia Alliance's multiband orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (MB-OFDM).
The move, which was expected, "was based strongly on the needs of the SIG membership,” said Mike Foley, executive director of the SIG.
“Having considered the UWB technology options, the decision ultimately came down to what our members want, which is to leverage their current investments in both UWB and Bluetooth technologies and meet the high-speed demands of their customers," he said. "By working closely with the WiMedia Alliance to create the next version of Bluetooth technology, we will enable our members to do just that.”
Both organizations have agreed to develop a high-speed, high-data-rate Bluetooth solution that uses the unlicensed radio spectrum above 6 GHz. “The plan is to have an initial spec completed by the first quarter of 2007," Foley said. "Then we will need to have a test and prototyping phase for the implementations, followed by multiple test events to ensure interoperability. This will take another six months or so, at least.”
This timetable fits closely with the road map outlined by the Bluetooth SIG late last year.
Foley told EE Times there was not one single reason that the group chose the WiMedia Alliance’s version of UWB rather than the Direct Sequence technology promoted by Freescale Semiconductor and the UWB Forum. “It was a collection of features, and in particular the momentum behind products conforming to the WiMedia Alliance’s version. We are hoping the UWB Forum will continue to work with us, though I accept they would need to change their technology.”
One key to the agreement is that it will help UWB achieve global regulatory acceptance, Foley noted. “This move answers concerns voiced by regulatory bodies in both Europe and Asia,” he said.
While regulatory concerns were crucial, so is the need to ensure that the UWB technology be compatible with Bluetooth radios and maintain the core attributes of Bluetooth wireless technology: low power, low cost, ad hoc networking, built-in security features and the ability to integrate into mobile devices.
Backward compatibility with the more than 500 million Bluetooth devices on the market is also important, said Foley. He added the SIG is satisfied that MB-OFDM UWB technology, offered by the WiMedia Alliance, can meet all of those requirements.
He said that the target is for the high-speed devices to have the same power budget as existing Bluetooth parts and that “the sweet spot in terms of throughput will be about 100 Mbits/s at the same range of about 10 meters, as we have now for Bluetooth.”