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Industry News

UWB Questions Loom as Bluetooth Announces Use of 802.11

July 2, 2008
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Members of the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) announced the development of Bluetooth over 802.11, giving Bluetooth a boost in data rate transfer and helping to quench consumer demand for added speed. Consequently, the Ultra-wideband (UWB) market worries that this announcement may slow down or even suspend its relationship with Bluetooth; however, ABI Research does not believe this will be the case. Mike Foley, executive director of the Bluetooth SIG, stated, “We are taking classic Bluetooth connections—using Bluetooth protocols, profiles, security and other architectural elements—and allowing it to jump on top of the already present 802.11 radio, when necessary, to send bulky entertainment data faster. When the speed of 802.11 is overkill, the connection returns to normal operation on a Bluetooth radio for optimal power management and performance.”


So where does this leave UWB?

“The Bluetooth SIG announcement will not have an impact on the timing of the UWB market,” says ABI Research senior analyst Douglas McEuen. “UWB remains set to be delivered as a viable radio to wireless handsets during the 2009/2010 time frame.” Moreover, the utilization of 802.11 is meant to fill a short-term role to the extent that UWB is being developed further, with UWB expected to be quite common in the future. Additionally, a combined Bluetooth/UWB WiMedia radio effectively opens the door to companies like Alereon, Wisair and WiQuest for entry into the Bluetooth market. The inclusion of 802.11 inside the realm of Bluetooth can only attract more customers, thereby setting the stage for UWB’s implementation to attain its full potential in the coming years.

“Ultra-wideband Connectivity” analyzes critical UWB market conditions—from drivers and obstacles, to global regulations and standards. Key market semiconductor vendors are profiled, and the study concludes with an in-depth market forecast that traces both positive and negative market forces numerically.

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