Ultra Wideband (UWB) is generally defined as "available spectrum." In the US, the FCC has defined the "available spectrum" for UWB systems as 3.1 to 10.6 GHz. An excellent text on UWB is: Ultra Wideband Systems by Roberto Aiello and Robert Sutton. I recently caught up with Roberto, who is the CTO for Staccato Communications, to check the status of the technology.
RFDL: What would you most like RF designers to understand about UWB?
Aiello: "RF is challenging for UWB because of the large bandwidth and the high operating frequency. On top of that the market is very cost sensitive and it requires solutions with a high level of integration. This combination makes it challenging to develop solution with good RF performance."
RFDL: What is the status of UWB?
Aiello: UWB has been adopted by the WiMedia Alliance as a common radio platform, USB-IF for Certified Wireless USB, and Bluetooth for the high-speed version. This makes it the preferred choice for high performance, short range networks. Products from multiple companies are beginning to be deployed this year, and they are expected to become more popular in 2008.
RFDL: What are the remaining technical/market challenges for UWB?
Aiello: The first UWB products to hit the market exceed WiFi and Bluetooth's performance but still need cost and performance improvements. This is not unique to UWB but it is common to most new technologies. Better radio performance will be achieved with more advanced RF designs and better throughput performance will be achieved with protocol modifications.
It's been a pretty big year for UWB news, products, and design on the RF DesignLine. Below are some links to a sampling of articles that you may find informative.
Utilizing UWB in ultra-low power ZigBee wireless sensor nodes
Here's how to meet the design challenges of creating ultra-low power UWB transmitters compliant with new IEEE 802.15.4a standard, by Els Parton, and Olivier Rousseau, IMEC.
Overcoming a wide array of UWB test challenges: Part 1
There are distinct advantages to Ultra wideband (UWB) technologies, but they are not without their test complexities. With the optimal approach, wireless engineers can maximize UWB's advantages for wireless applications such as Certified W-USB and short-range ground-penetrating radar systems. Part 1 focuses on understanding UWB, technical considerations, and applications. Part 2 will focus on UWB test challenges, signal generation, interference testing, and spectral mask measurements. By Christopher Skach, Tektronix, Inc
Overcoming a wide array of UWB test challenges: Part 2
Part 2 of this series focuses on UWB test challenges, signal generation, interference testing, and spectral mask measurements.
Leveraging ultrawideband for mobile applications
UWB provides standards-based, high-bandwidth, multi-protocol capabilities, with the flexibility for auto-discovery and connection to a variety of peer-to-peer and/or local server- based networks.
Tutorial: Sorting our WiMedia coexistence issues
The issue is not whether UWB can cause interference; it is possible to construct usage models interfere with other systems. The debate is over whether these usage models are relevant and whether the interference is serious enough to warrant protection of the victim service. By Jim Lansford, CTO, Alereon
Inside UWB design: A tutorial
The current UWB spectral mask highlights challenges for radio designers that include link budgets, multipath and propagation models, antenna design, silicon technology selection. By Cedric Paillard, VP TECHinsights, Semiconductor Insights and Jim Wight, Consultant, Semiconductor Insights.
Tektronix releases software for UWB WiMedia radios
Test: UWB radios check in for wireless
Ultrawideband under the gun
WiMedia Alliance registers six more PHY chipsets
FCC OKs DS-OFDM UWB modulation without waivers
UWB test: call for participation
Europe finally homing in on Ultra Wideband
USB Implementer's Forum: http://www.usb.org/home
ECMA International: http://www.ecma-international.org/
Bluetooth SIG: http://www.bluetooth.org/