Intel outlines its ultrawideband position

Summary:Ben Manny of Intel gives his take on the UWB controversy

Ultrawideband, one of today's most exciting areas of communications, may be in deep trouble due to that perennial problem for any emerging technology -- vendors squabbling over standards. 

This high-speed, low-power method of wireless connectivity has the potential to revolutionise the way that electronic devices talk to each other, but the companies at the forefront of bringing it to market can't agree on a fixed UWB standard.

On one side, backed by Intel, is the Multiband-OFDM Alliance (MBOA) with its Orthogonal Frequency Division Modulation (OFDM) technology. The opposing group is Motorola/XtremeSpectrum. Concern is growing that the two rival and incompatible camps at the centre of the disagreement may pursue separate UWB standards. This could confuse the market and delay acceptance, setting the development of very high-speed personal wireless networks back by years.

ZDNet UK caught up with Intel’s co-director of Wireless Technology Development, Ben Manny, the day after he attended the IEEE 802.15.3a meeting where once again the ultrawideband (UWB) standards process stalled.

What happened at the Albuquerque meeting?

There’s still a deadlock. The way it should work is that you select one proposal, and then you need a majority of 75 percent to move on when you poll the group for concerns about the proposal. During the process of the confirmation vote, if you vote 'no', you need to state what you would accept to change your vote to 'yes'. At the next meeting, the group that wins gets to come back with the changes, and you vote again. If you don’t get the confirmation vote, you go back to before the selection, and we’ve already been through that two times.

Some companies use some of this openness and fairness for purposes for which they weren’t originally intended. You always question where some of the consultants are coming from when they block the process. This is what’s happening.

Topics: Networking


Rupert has worked at ZDNet UK, IT Week, PC Magazine, Computer Life, Mac User, Alfa Systems, Amstrad, Sinclair, Micronet 800, Marconi Space and Defence Systems, and a dodgy TV repair shop in the back streets of Plymouth. He can still swap out a gassy PL509 with the best of 'em. If you want to promote your company or product, fine -- but pl... Full Bio

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