MANHASSET, N.Y. The Multiband-OFDM Alliance this week agreed to join Motorola Inc. in independent tests being performed by ITS Labs (Boulder Colo.) to evaluate the interference characteristics of their respective ultrawideband proposals, EE Times has learned.
The tests are intended to settle, once and for all, the lengthy debate between the MBOA and Motorola over whether or not the MBOA proposal can meet IEEE 802.15.3a requirements while meeting Federal Communications Commission requirements.
The debate has reinforced the deadlock between the proposals as each side vies to become the short-range, high-speed physical layer of choice for the IEEE 802.15.3a task group. Motorola claims MBOA cannot meet both IEEE and FCC requirements because it is a frequency-hopping scheme, while the MBOA camp has consistently maintained that it meets the spirit of the FCC's guidelines issued in 2002.
According to Martin Rofheart, director of UWB operations at Motorola, the tests will include a total of five UWB implementations, mostly variations of each proposal's waveforms. "The ITS work order calls for a nine-month timeline," he said.
The MBOA's decision to join the tests, which were initiated and sponsored and financed by Motorola, came during a joint meeting in Washington this week between representatives from the FCC, the Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and MBOA. The alliance presented its proposal during the meeting.
"My objective is to allow development to go forward but protect the incumbents," said Edmond Thomas, the FCC's chief engineer. According to Thomas, the focus of the evaluation will be to ensure that the proposal do not "create more interference than existing standards." He added, "If so, is [the interference] significant and does it cause harm to any of the incumbents. That's where some analysis will have to be done."
Thomas said the technical details for each proposal will be examined closely, "along with the technical standards of the incumbents" that include GPS, cellular, satellite and military radios.
While Motorola has maintained that the MBOA proposal will violate FCC guidelines with respect to frequency hopping, according to Thomas, "The religion isn't whether it hops or not, it's whether or not it interferes. If the NTIA and the FCC agree that this does not cause any problems, we haven't violated our religion, and there's only one common sense conclusion to draw.
"The Holy Grail is to make sure that whatever's deployed in UWB does not cause harm," he added.
While the MBOA will comply with the tests, they're a repeat of what the MBOA has already proven, according to Roberto Aiello, president of Staccato Communications (San Diego), a leading MBOA member. "We've done C-band receiver tests and presented those to the IEEE in January [at the 802.15.3a task group meeting]," he said. "Those showed that we didn't interfere more than impulse radios already allowed by the FCC's rules. Motorola didn't comment on those results."
Aiello said the tests should completed in about four weeks. "Our goal is to come up with a result as quickly as possible," he said.