Ultrawideband, a new short-range wireless standard, is causing concerns about interference:
- UWB operates across a wide range of these so-called frequencies all at once. The “flooding” of the airwaves creates a short but powerful signal–about 100 times faster than Bluetooth, another short-range wireless standard.
Beginning last February, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) let a handful of UWB start-up companies, plus tech heavyweights Intel, Cisco Systems and Texas Instruments, make UWB devices that use the same spectrum satellite companies use. Some of the products are just now being shipped to stores.
But the new neighbors are starting to chafe as they rub bandwidth shoulders, just as the first commercial UWB products are being shipped. A number of satellite companies and their customers, including AOL Time Warner and Viacom, have raised concerns about interference in the past few days. The broadcast TV and cable arms of AOL Time Warner and Viacom use satellites to ferry programming to customers worldwide.
….Ben Manny, Intel’s director of wireless technology development, also played down the impact of UWB on satellites or any other kinds of devices.
He said interference is highly unlikely, but if it were to occur, it would probably create the same level of annoyance as everyday mishaps such as “when I drape my phone cord over my PC.”
If UWB survives this latest challenge, analysts say the technology has potential–especially for the TV industry, which needs to find more bandwidth in its networks to meet a 2005 federal mandate to begin broadcasting bandwidth-sucking HDTV signals.
An XtremeSpectrum representative said the first products that will be UWB-enabled “will likely be large screen displays for home theaters, set-top boxes, DVDs and DVRs.” Cisco and TI are interested in UWB and have invested in XtremeSpectrum. [CNET]