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Ultra-WeirdBand

Hello, happy reader…For this entry, I wanted to update y’all on the current state of UWB as it applies to USB. Enough TLAs for you? :: OK, we all know about USB, the bus spec designed to replace PS-2 and other old school serial protocols for peripherals. So as to increase the amount of radio energy impinging on us, the Folks Who Brought You USB, aka the USB Implementers Forum or USB-IF, have been working on wireless version for the past three years. Several years ago, I saw early wireless USB prototypes at the IDF, Intel’s Developer Forum, that were as big as a toaster oven and not nearly as attractive. Now, companies like LucidPort Technology have crunched that gear down into a lead–free (can you say “ROHS”?), 11 mm square, 108-ball BGA package. With no pins to bend, Ball Grid Arrays have become a common IC form factor. With the world of CE moving ever faster toward wireless everything, a high speed, low power method of transmitting data is a desirable thing, and WiMedia is the spec to do it. :: As you probably know, if you have a lot of power at your disposal, you can transmit very large amounts of information in a short time. What if you’re running on a single hearing aid battery though? Then you can either a) transmit a big blog of data real quick, b) drain the battery in no time or, c) you can s-l-o-w things down and conserve your power source. Physics be damned, that is just plain unacceptable! Enter UWB or Ultra-WideBand, a radio communication method that turns your whole concept of “normal” radio on its head. I first wrote about UWB back in 2004, when it was still total from outer space. Now it’s just gee whiz and, as UWB applications, like ZigBee and wireless USB, slowly move from the lab into commodity implementations, we’ll feel the impact of this crazy technology. :: Today, that standardized WiMedia implementation from LucidPort, handles “…all the functions required by the WiMedia and Certified Wireless USB protocols, including beaconing, encryption, and association.  This makes the L800 ideal for use in printers, scanners, digital camcorders, media players, and other peripherals.” Who’da thunk that a scanner should be RF “beaconing” but, that’s convenience for ya…Trouble is, that LucidPort part costs almost 5 bills in quantity, so you won’t be seeing it in beige boxes at Walmart ’til maybe next year. :: That’s all for this entry…TTFN and, have an excellent week!

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One Response to “Ultra-WeirdBand”

  1. […] in April of last year, I posted a Bitstream item about UWB. A UWB press release just came across my desk that I thought I’d share…The ZigBee […]