Two camps in the ultrawideband debate found something to cheer about in an FCC waiver that redefines how UWB signals will be monitored for interference.
Although the text of the waiver will not be released for about a week, MBOA (MultiBand OFDM Alliance) officials said that the new definition would allow their products to be certified and ship later this year. However, representatives of the opposing DS-UWB (Direct Sequence UWB) camp interpreted the ruling to mean that they could safely increase the throughput or battery life of their devices to four times their initial levels.
The MBOA had sought a waiver from the FCC to redefine the interference standard, and worked with the agency for about a year to convince officials that their testing procedures were too conservative. DS-UWB members had fought the waiver, claiming that the revised definition would offer the MBOA technology an unfair advantage.
The waivers approval simply resets the status quo, said Allen Nogee, an analyst with In-Stat in Scottsdale, Ariz. With both camps deadlocked in the official IEEE working group responsible for overseeing the technology, the market will likely decide the issue. However Nogee said he remains unconvinced that there will be widespread acceptance of the technology.
"If it [the waiver] wasnt approved, the multiband people would have had a difficult time," Nogee said. "Still, theres no official IEEE support for either, so the waiver decision didnt do a whole lot."
In a meeting Thursday, all five FCC commissioners quickly adopted the recommendations of members of the commissions technical staff, granting the waiver. However, John Reed, a senior engineer in the technical rules branch of the FCC, told commissioners that the MBOA technology must be further tested in the 5.03GHz-to-5.65GHz band to ensure that it does not negatively affect existing services such as Doppler radar systems. Otherwise, Reed said, "the net result is that the UWB transmitter is forced to operate at levels lower than permitted under the rules."