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 Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Although currently mired in a standards war between different camps in the IEEE, UWB is likely to form the basis of an important short-range wireless standard for consumer equipment such as set-top boxes, high definition TVs and portable music systems. The ITUís Radicommunication Sector is planning to draft ITU recommendations on the UWB standard at its upcoming meeting currently be held in San Diego from 18 to 27 May 2005. The group is due to hand its final recommendations to the ITU and disband after another meeting in October 2005.

However, nailing down the standard is just one of the challenges, some wish to keep UWB restricted to very low power levels at national regulatory levels which impact its potential uses and possible competition with other wireless technologies. An article in TechWorld (pointer via Fergie's Tech Blog)

discusses the doubts held by Bob Heile, chair of the IEEE 802.15.3a working group.

If Europe and Asia apply more restrictions to the technology than the FCC in the US, the technology may not perform well enough to displace Wi-Fi, which is constantly improving, said Bob Heile, chair of the IEEE 802.15.3a working group.

"I believe we will see regulations in Europe that are substantially more restrictive than those applied by the FCC," said Heile, in France for a conference on the ZigBee sensor protocol. "Japan is likely to be even more conservative. If that happens, how good is the performance going to be?

Watkins is hopeful that next week's meeting of the UWB group of the international telecoms standards body, the ITU, may help."