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Ultrawideband Signal Passes Data Through Walls 139

Posted by Zonk
from the wireless-fight-out dept.
writertype writes "You may already be familiar with ultrawideband; UWB technology has been specifically talked about and designed to replace wired USB connections for over a year. Due to its high bandwidth, it's also been considered as an A/V cable replacement. The problem is that UWB radio performance degrades precipitously, effectively confining it to a single room. Until now, that is. Startup TZero says its UWB implementation provides high throughput through walls. Will this be an effective competitor to 802.11n?"
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Ultrawideband Signal Passes Data Through Walls

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  • by IntelliAdmin (941633) * on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @04:48PM (#15490091) Homepage
    The speed increases are nice with this technology. The problem is physics. As it stands UWB runs from 3.1GHZ to 10.6GHZ. Radio in this band operates much like visible light - it is easily blocked by walls and other obstacles. Because of this I think that 802.11b/a/c/n are going to be around for a long time

    Windows Admin Tools [intelliadmin.com]
  • Yea yea yea... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by suv4x4 (956391) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @05:05PM (#15490217)
    UWB technology has been specifically talked about and designed to replace wired USB connections for over a year. Due to its high bandwidth, it's also been considered as an A/V cable replacement.

    Yea, yea, yea... That sounds so desperately trying to hype it up. Just a month ago we were discussing that current digital A/V *cables* can't handle high enough resolutions for some larger (resolution) monitors out there, which requires two or even four DVI cables.

    We've discussed also how the new standard introduced, is just as bad (despite claims to "scale indefinitely", in theory, with other equipment and all that..).

    Now this is of course gonna replace everything, including food and water in one year. Therefore buy our shares and give us venture capital. Screw it.

    The problem is that UWB radio performance degrades precipitously, effectively confining it to a single room. Until now, that is. Startup TZero says its UWB implementation provides high throughput through walls. Will this be an effective competitor to 802.11n?

    I don't get it: we have enough problems with people logging into our wifi networks because it passes through walls already (even if it's password protected and so on, it can be hacked into), and now they found a way to do the same with UWB? I kinda like it in my room only, neighbours will have to buy theirs.
  • by MountainMan101 (714389) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @05:05PM (#15490220)
    Yes. Bluetooth was designed to replace IR, which in turn replaced short wires. It was purely a personal wireless protocol, short range between paired objects. Wireless USB is designed for higher bandwith, although I don't see it being a competitor to WiFi - mainly because they can exist in the same way that wired USB and Ethernet do.

    You may ask why we can't have one all encompassing protocol - the answer, cost. Bluetooth is the cheapest, GPRS and WiFi cost more. So for a BT headset the cost would rocket up if it had to do be fully compliant with a new protocol.

    Anyway, in the grand scheme it's all a bit pointless. There's more interesting things in life, like mountains, women and fast cars. Who cares about wireless!
  • Re:Getting Crowded (Score:3, Insightful)

    by christopherfinke (608750) <chris@efinke.com> on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @05:10PM (#15490257) Homepage Journal
    I mean, does anyone really run A/V signals between rooms as it is (except, of course, cable or satellite runs from a dish or the street)?
    Perhaps no one is running A/V signals between rooms because it hasn't been easily doable, and this technology will greatly increase the number of people doing so.

    All I know is that this would have been great to have when I was retrofitting my home for cable last year. That was a pain...
  • n is still better (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MooseTick (895855) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @05:21PM (#15490328) Homepage
    802.11n makes many improvements over 11.g. It provides for greater redundancy(MIMO), security, speed(400MBPS+), and more distant coverage. It is also an open standard so anyone can use it without worring about paying someone license fees today, tomorrow, or 3 years from now when it is commonplace. Since its speed can allow multiple hdtv connections to stream at once and the costs should not be any greater than 11b or 11g devices, the n standard will soon dominate wireless networking and connections.
  • No Data (Score:4, Insightful)

    by thePig (964303) <rajmohan_h.yahoo@com> on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @05:24PM (#15490353) Journal
    The article (press release ??) has NO data whatsoever on how they solved this issue?
    Since the high frequency makes it *very* less able to go around objects, how did they do it indeed?
    Were they able to use EIT ?

    BTW, they did not speak about the degradation pattens in the article.
    Any ideas on the same?
  • Fix the drawback (Score:2, Insightful)

    by MoogMan (442253) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @05:32PM (#15490396)
    One thing I never liked about USB, is that you can't use the connector "upside-down" (I'm sure there's probably a technical word for this... symmetrical or something).

    I hope this UWB - being a successor of USB - has connectors that work "upside-down". Oh wait...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @05:39PM (#15490443)
    For short range communication, uwb could be quite simple to implement. It could indeed be a replacement for cables for all kinds of things. Once you try to push the range, things get more miserable. The question is then, what benefit you expect to gain and what costs might you face.

    Any kind of wireless communication pushes up the general noise level. If the communication is restricted to a certain bandwidth, the noise affects other users of the same bandwidth. On the other hand, uwb will affect people in bands that are supposed to be clear. We have the specter of satellite links degrading because ten million people are using uwb for their cordless phones. My wag is that the FCC will eventually have to put its foot down if uwb becomes too successful.
  • by Russellkhan (570824) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @06:40PM (#15490834)
    I think the thing that makes it annoying with USB is that there's no simple visual cue (e.g. shape of the plug) to tell you which way to plug it. There is that little plastic bit on one side, but for some reason I have a harder time remembering which side of the USB socket has the plastic bit than I do remembering for example which way the wider side of a VGA socket faces.
  • by Ksevio (865461) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @07:08PM (#15490979) Homepage
    There's typically a crack in the metal on the bottom, and a usb symbol on the top.
  • by Dr. Zowie (109983) <slashdotNO@SPAMdeforest.org> on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @08:12PM (#15491279)
    Will this be an effective competitor to 802.11?

    Ye Gods, I hope not. UWB is absolutely terrific so long as a limited number of people use it -- but it's one of those solutions that sound great until you multiply by 10,000,000 installed devices -- then everyone's radio noise floor goes up, stealing bandwidth (range, really) from things like FM music, shortwave, air traffic control, and emergency services. By that time it's too late, because you can't track down and eliminate 10^7 devices -- short of nuking the city centers.

  • by bgoody (919219) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @08:16PM (#15491299)
    It's extremely difficult to gauge foliage attenuation. It literally varies as the wind blows. Because of the wavelength, 5.8GHz also requires less fresnel zone clearance compared to 2.4GHz so if you were skimming the top of the trees on a marginal link, the blockage at 2.4GHz would be more severe, perhaps enough to dip you below the required signal-to-noise ratio.

    If the trees were dense and the power ouput the same then 2.4GHz would win out.

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