Alereon Unveils Superfast Ultrawideband

Alereon promises wireless 480 Mbps over ultra wide band for home entertainment networking and consumer electronics. PC Magazine

LAS VEGAS-- Alereon Inc, an Austin, Texas based semiconductor company, introduced two ultrawideband (UWB) chips at CES 2004, designed to transmit at almost a half a gigabit per second at short distances.

Due by late 2004, Alereons two chips are targeted at OEMs who will use them to build routers, access points, and UWB clients. Jeffrey Ross, Vice President at Alereon, claimed at least one customer has already signed up to use the chips, but refused to say who.

Is UWB a Wi-Fi-Killer?

According to Ross, UWB offers high throughput over distances less than 10 meters. "Weve confirmed tests [where throughput levels are] in excess of 100 Mbps, but 480 Mbps is feasible." He went on to say, "products being designed now are designed to hit 480 Mbps."

With short range but high throughput, UWB is well-suited for networking home entertainment. Connecting CE devices together has been a major theme running through CES this year, driven mainly by Microsoft. In many home scenarios, networked devices are reasonably close together but require higher bandwidth than many current wireless networks can offer.

Although many expect WiFi to be used for audio and video networking, Alereons CTO, Dr. Jim Lansford, disagrees. "Youre not going to have the performance you need to provide pure multimedia [with Wi-Fi]," Lansford predicts.

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