UWB May Arrive Too Late to Matter

The U.S. market for Ultra Wideband (UWB) – multispectral wireless solutions for short-range/high-speed data transmissions (200 Mbps or higher at 10 feet) – is expected to face several obstacles onthe road to mass deployment. According to new insights from The Diffusion Group, the next generation of 802.11 solutions will hit the market sooner than mainstream UWB solutions and be able toleverage the large embedded base of 802.11x products and widespread market awareness.

“The window of market entry for new wireless technologies is closing rapidly,” says Dr. Predrag Filipovic, consulting analyst with The Diffusion Group. “While UWB may offer greater throughput thantoday’s 802.11x solutions, new consumer multimedia systems will require longer ranges than UWB’s 10-foot promise. Moreover, the next generation of 802.11 (802.11n) has plenty of ammunition – 100 Mbpsor more – to address bandwidth intensive multimedia applications across greater distances.”

Despite the long-term promise of UWB, if current federal spectral limitations are not relaxed, and if the standards battle is not soon resolved, UWB solutions that may arrive late to the wirelessdance, trumped by the arrival of 802.11n. On the other hand, solutions that support low-rate, low-power applications are more likely to use Zigbee than UWB. This leaves UWB promoters facing what hasbeen labeled “The Bluetooth Dilemma”: where do we fit UWB if its not much faster than 802.11n and consumes more power than Zigbee-like technologies?

TDG’s forthcoming report, UWB versus 802.11n: Competitive Analysis & Forecasts, offers a critical examination of the two wireless technologies; a discussion of the UWB standards battle; andforecasts for both UWB- and 802.11n-enabled solutions through 2010.