I am the VP of Engineering at Alereon, one of two remaining UWB chip vendors. Since your article in 2009, a couple of interesting story arcs have developed. First, UWB continued to fade from the PC and CE space in favor of WiFi solutions just as your post predicted. That fading claimed Wisair, which shuttered in 2013 - right on schedule.
However, an unexpected development has kept UWB alive and well. After extensive study, the U.S. military determined that UWB is the only RF technology that addresses the requirements and constraints for turning all soldier-carried gear wireless. In May, the U.S. Army awarded $800 million in contracts for next generation night-vision weapon sites and goggles to DRS and BAE. Alereon's UWB radio provides the wireless link between the weapon site and goggle to enable a new feature called Rapid Target Acquisition. This feature is the next level in providing U.S. soldiers with an edge in combat. In addition, the military's CERDEC labs and PEO Soldier office have asked for a dozen proposals that feature UWB as the *required* wireless technology - all geared toward replacing soldier cables in a program called Intra-Soldier Wireless.
Without the military market, UWB would be barely breathing. However, we can thank Uncle Sam for resurrecting UWB in a wholly unexpected fashion! It has life after all!
Teacher, have you been drinking the WiMedia Kool-aid? Low power is the promise of UWB however WiMedia's implementation of UWB was by no means "Low Power" at 2 to 3 watts power consumption. (It takes a lot of power to operate those Giga Bits per second+ ADC's and DAC's along with the FEC and other baseband logic blocks) compared to some of the most recent WiFi chips at less than 300mW it's hard to claim WiMedia is "Low Power" with a straight face. You do make a good point about Bluetooth with one major exception. At the time many people were declaring "Bluetooth dead", Bluetooth companies were shipping millions of Bluetooth chips annually. It just took BT longer to ramp than expected. How many WiMedia chips have really honestly shipped to date? The real number is less than a million and possibly maybe even less than 100K. Go to any major brick and mortar stores that sells electronics such as Best Buy, Radio Shack, Walmart, Target, Fry's Electronics and just try to find ANY WiMedia products. Zero.
Bluetooth was also announced to be dead - is it? It is not, because a few innovative companies survived the battle for the market. The same will happen for UWB. The reason is that there a very easy to understand advantage of UWB radio technology compared to other ones: the energy consumption per transmitted bit is extremely low! This saves battery live time for portable devices and it saves energy in general, which is on the agenda today everywhere. We talk about 5-10 times less energy consumption for the transfer of the same amount of data - so normally UWB radio technology is a must for any producer/vendor of portable devices with big amount of data storage (like Digi-Cams and Video/Audio-Devices) and it is also nice to have even for stationary devices taking into account the enormous amount of energy potentially saved by applying UWB radio technology together with appropriate protocols.
The death knell tolled for UWB when the FCC redefined the concept to mean "multiple narrow bands." UWB became the technological equivalent of what the media call a "partial-birth abortion," and a botched one at that.
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