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Multiband OFDM Alliance releases UWB PHY specs

Posted: 12 Nov 2004 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:multiband ofdm alliance? physical layer? ultrawideband? freescale semiconductor?

The Multiband OFDM Alliance Special Interest Group has formally made available to its 170 member companies the physical layer (PHY) specification it has been working on for nearly a year, the group announced at the Electronica trade show.

And according to Mark Bowles, VP of marketing and business development at Staccato Communications, one of over ten silicon vendors already sampling chips for the ultrawideband (UWB) specification, the even more important MBOA medium access layer (MAC) specification will be finalized next month.

"This sets us up to have real UWB products and applications out in the market based on the MBOA specifications by next year, and we expect 2006 to be a huge year for UWB," said Bowles.

Speaking on behalf of the Alliance, Bowles said he does not expect any breakthroughs in the long running battle between the MBOA and the competing Direct Sequence (DS) UWB camp, led by Freescale Semiconductor, at next week's meeting in San Antonio, Texas under the auspices of the IEEE 802.15.3a task group to define a unified standard for UWB.

"In fact it is beginning to look as if the two groups will not be able to breach their differences, but that does not mean that UWB chips will not start shipping next year, or that companies will not start developing UWB applications and bring these to market," said Bowles.

Staccato has started sampling an MBOA compliant chip, and will bring out an application development kit next March. This will include a UWB chip with the MAC layer implemented initially in an FPGA.

Earlier this week, another MBOA member and UWB chip supplier, Wisair, released such a kit. These will be vital to bring MBOA-compliant products to market in the timescale envisaged by companies such as Staccato.

The MBOA says the issuance of the 1.0 PHY specification is particularly important as it will help in pre-production interoperability testing of devices and applications for the consumer, PC and mobile sectors.

- John Walko

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