Ultrawideband may be disappointing its fans on a number of fronts – late, slow and not particularly exciting, to name just three – but nobody's told Pulse~LINK. This idiosyncratic Californian company has been active in developing UWB since the beginning of the century: unlike virtually everyone else in the business, it's avoided joining the various consortia which have battled away for supremacy in the standardisation race. It's also avoided OFDM, that magic elixir for high-speed wireless data. Instead, it's created and quietly developed its own CWave system, produced its own chips and followed its own strategy.
CWave is refreshingly simple. As its name suggests, it takes a continuous wave carrier – something Marconi knew and enjoyed – and just shifts its phase every three cycles or so. With a carrier at around 4GHz modulated at 1.3 GHz, the system shifts at close to a gigabit.
And that looks like a real number. A comparative test by Wireless Net Design and EE Times pitted CWave against a bunch of Wireless USB products: the latter managed around 50Mbps in the real world, while CWave was ten times faster – over short distances, nearly twenty times. Close in, it managed 890Mbps. Unfortunately the test was sponsored by Pulse~LINK: looking at it, I don't think for a moment that this biassed the testers, but it can't be called truly independent.
As history shows, though, it's not always enough to have a smart product that's better than everyone else's; you need the right deals at the right time. But with CWave looking so much better for things like digital video and very fast data transfer, I'd like to think that some aggressive, nimble partners will find a way to get this to market quickly and with the right numbers attached – two things the Wireless UWB people have so painfully failed to do.
Because I want 890 Mbps wireless networking, and so do you.
(Oh, PS - I've told Pulse~LINK in the past that having a tilde in the middle of its name was going to cause problems -- and lo, it has come to pass. Our content management system balks at ~ in blog post titles, which is why it's just a hyphen up there)