When you cannot point to big victories, then small ones will have to do, at least for now. This is the case with UWB technology: In February 2004 the FCC approved its use, with some limitations, in commercial applications, but in the nearly three years since then, UWB has been more conspicuous for what it has failed to deliver relative to its early promise--rather than for what it has delivered. Yes, at every consumer electronics show we are invited to impressive demonstrations of, say, an UWB-enabled HDTV and feats of sheer speed and resolution, but the total, so far, is less than the sum of the parts.
This is why we note the release by Intel of its Wireless UWB Link 1480 MAC silicon and reference design, aiming to enable UWB-based solutions. It is hoped that these solutions--compliant with the Certified Wireless Universal Serial Bus (USB) specification from the USB Implementers Forum and the WiMedia Network specification from the WiMedia Alliance--will allow OEMs to embed UWB in the gear they manufacture, ushering in the era of UWB-based WLAN at home and at the office. Intel made a point of integrating its UWB host MAC with several third-party UWB PHY ports, thus allowing customers to choose different radio solutions.