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UWBfest

Hallo hoppy reader,

Back 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 Alliance and the RF4CE Consortium have agreed to standardize a spec for RF–based, specifically UWB, remote controls for consumer electronics. The main improvement would be no line–of–sight restriction currently seen with IR remotes.

OK, you say, “So what.” Well, ZigBee is a v–e–r–y  s–l–o–w, low bandwidth version of UWB that was “optimized for the unique needs of remote monitoring and control applications, including simplicity, reliability, low-cost and low-power.” ZigBee uses the IEEE 802.15.4 low data rate standard for it’s PHY and MAC layers. In short, when you want to add standards–based, bidirectional communications to a machine or manufacturing system without running wires, using a power supply or changing batteries…ever, use ZigBee. That’s a bit optimistic but not by much. Got an instrumentation package sitting in a marmot hole monitoring their activities? No problem, use ZigBee! Got a wireless “light switch” that you can slap on a wall anywhere in your house to control lights anywhere in the house, and never have to change or recharge its batteries? No problem, use ZigBee!

ZigBee is designed to be so power stingy that “waste energy” can be used to power it. In the case of a CE remote, the kinetic energy of picking up the remote should, if it’s designed right, be enough to power the system. “Look ma, not batteries!”

OK, that’s all I gotta say. For a nice concise ZigBee FAQ, visit Rakesh’s blog and, in the meantime, everybody to continue to geek!

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