UWB shows signs of life

We don't know whether or not 2007 will be the year of ultra-wideband (UWB), since we have heard it all before. Still, something is stirring. Unstrung, for one, has selected the technology as one of its hot 2007 technologies. UWB chips and hardware are being certified (for example, from Alereon, Realtek Semiconductor, Staccato Communications, Tzero Technologies, WiQuest, and Wisair), products are tested, companies are announcing new gear ready to ship, and UWB chip startups have been successful in raising money from VCs (for example, Alereon and Artimi announced they had raised funds from venture capital firms this month, while WiQuest said it had raised $18 million in March, and Wisair raised $20 million in January). The FCC has started to approve cable-replacement wireless products which use UWB chipsets that can transfer data over short ranges at speeds of up to 1 Gbps. The technology also has more companies lined up behind it as it is now the radio technology supporting both the Bluetooth 2.0 and Wireless USB specifications. It is not unreasonable to expect that several companies might contemplate using UWB to add speed to the wireless transmission of multimedia between portable MP3 and video players and a home PC.

And yet, and yet. As Katie Fehrenbacher writes: "Given that the UWB market is just starting to see products...investors seem to be thinking that its a good time to get into the UWB silicon market. It could be, but then again the market has been 'just around the corner' for years. Let's hope UWB turns the corner in 2007."

For more on the future of UWB:
- see Dan Jones's Light Reading discussion
- and Katie Fehrenbacher's GigaOM comments