Industry Group Gives Nod To Intel-Led Ultrawideband Spec

WiMedia Alliance officials confirmed that the industry body has unofficially accepted the MultiBand OFDM Alliance proposal-a step toward a formal ultrawideband specification.

WiMedia Alliance officials on Friday confirmed that the industry body has accepted the MultiBand OFDM Alliance (MBOA) proposal in a step toward a formal ultrawideband specification.

Paul Reinhardt, executive director of the San Ramon, Calif.-based industry group, confirmed that the alliances board of directors on Thursday night gave the nod to the proposal by the MBOA, which is led by a consortium of technology companies including Intel Corp. The proposal has yet to be technically vetted and ratified, however, and until that time the decision cannot be considered final, Reinhardt said.

"Technically, the boards decision is still confidential," he said.

But Manny Vara, a spokesman for Intel, said the board on Thursday night accepted the media access control (MAC) and physical layer (PHY) portion of the specification—the underpinnings of a UWB protocol. "It is true WiMedia has endorsed MBOA, specifically the MAC and PHY portion," he said. "Were pretty excited."

To be ratified as a specification, either the MBOA proposal or a rival plan, developed by Motorola Inc.s XtremeSpectrum subsidiary, has to be approved by the IEEE 802.15.3 working group.

Intel in February said it planned to go outside the IEEE and develop its own specification because of the impasse in the IEEE over Motorolas refusal to approve the MBOAs first proposal.

The WiMedia Alliance is a sort of quasi-industry standards body, helping to coordinate efforts and ensure compatibility, much as the WiFi Alliance does in the WiFi/802.11 world.

According to the MBOA, the protocol will allow data rates of up to 480 Mbps over an approximate 10-meter range. The MBOA specification has not yet been finalized; the draft version currently stands at revision 0.9, and a final 1.0 release is expected in May, Vara said.

The WiMedia Alliances promoter members are Intel, Alereon Inc., Appairent Technologies Inc., Eastman Kodak Co., Hewlett-Packard Co., Motorola Inc., Philips, Samsung Electronics Co., Sharp Laboratories of America, STMicroelectronics and Texas Instruments Inc. Contributor members also belong to the alliance.

In addition, an industry association called the Wireless USB Promoter Group agreed in February to use the eventual WiMedia standard as a means of running USB protocols over the wireless link. The WiMedia group is still talking to a complementary IEEE 1394 body about transmitting IEEE 1394 "FireWire" data over the same link, Intels Vara said.

"Decisions made by the WiMedia Alliance board of directors are confidential until approved for release by the WiMedia Alliance," John Barr, director of standards realization at Motorola, said in a statement e-mailed to eWEEK. "This information has not been approved for release at this time."

Representatives from Motorola had not been reached for comment by the time this story was posted.

/zimages/4/28571.gifCheck out eWEEKs Mobile & Wireless Center at for the latest news, reviews and analysis. Be sure to add our mobile and wireless news feed to your RSS newsreader or My Yahoo page: /zimages/4/19420.gif