UWB Group to Release Spec

The Intel-led MBOA has completed work on the physical layer portion of its ultra wideband specification and will announce next week that it has formed a special interest group to promote its version of UWB.

An Intel-led ultra wideband group will announce next week that it has completed the specification for its physical-layer chip and formed a special interest group to promote its solution.

The MultiBand OFDM Alliance (MBOA), a group composed of some of the top technology companies, will announce it has formed the MultiBand OFDM Alliance Special Interest Group next week at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco, members said Wednesday. The group is expected to announce that the physical layer specifications for its version of UWB, known as the "PHY," have been completed.

In addition, the group will announce that its specifications for the MAC (media access control) layer are expected to be completed by the end of the year. The MAC layer is considered the "brains" of the network, working with the physical radio to keep the connection up and running.

The MBOA group, which includes Intel Corp., Alereon Inc., Hewlett-Packard Co., Texas Instruments Inc. and others, opposes Freescale Semiconductor Inc. and Motorola Inc., which have proposed their own UWB specification. The two sides could end up fighting it out this month at the IEEE meeting in Berlin. UWB falls under the IEEE 802.15.3a specification.

/zimages/2/28571.gifFreescale recently received FCC certification for its UWB chip set. Click here for the full story.

"The industry supports MBOA as the standard for UWB," said Roberto Aiello, president and chief executive of Staccato Communications Inc., of San Diego, in a statement. "MBOA will release standards that have been peer-reviewed by more than 170 companies—companies who build all types of wireless products and sell these products in the CE, PC and mobile spaces. With the availability of MBOAs 1.0 specs, products already compliant with these standards are just around the corner."

Meanwhile, the MBOA group has been willing to sidestep the IEEE process entirely, forming relationships with the Wireless USB Promoter Group and the WiMedia Alliance to push its format as a de facto industry standard. The MBOA alliance has said that device makers will be able to run both IEEE 1394 (aka FireWire) and Universal Serial Bus protocols over the wireless link.

/zimages/2/28571.gifClick here to find out why eWEEKs Peter Coffee thinks UWB opens the door to conflict. MBOA member companies are actively engaged with the IEEE standards process and hope to eventually have the IEEE manage these specifications, MBOA officials said in a statement.

The MBOA has said that its solution will be built entirely in CMOS silicon as a digital chip that can more easily handle out-of-band interference and other hurdles.

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