Ultra Wideband Takes To The Road

Soon, wireless technology also may be making long family car trips at least somewhat more bearable.

Everywhere one turns, wireless technologies are increasingly being used for safety, entertainment, convenience, and other measures. In the automotive arena, for example, wireless applications range from remote-keyless-entry (RKE) systems to tire-pressure monitors and Bluetooth-enabled wireless communications. Soon, wireless technology also may be making long family car trips at least somewhat more bearable. Ultra-Wideband (UWB) technology has taken its most often-cited application— wireless video delivery—and set its sights on transmitting such content in the automobile.

At last month's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, NV, DaimlerChrysler Research, Engineering and Design North America, Inc. (DC REDNA) exhibited a Mercedes-Benz R500 that used UWB technology to stream high-definition video. Specifically, the video was streamed live from a handheld consumer-electronic device to a rear-system-entertainment (RSE) system. The vehicle used a UWB solution from Intel, which incorporates the company's Wireless UWB Link 1480 media-access-controller (MAC) silicon and the AL4000 WiMedia RF transceiver from Alereon. In doing so, it creates a wireless USB connection.

The high-definition video was viewable on the factory-installed monitors in the headrests for the middle and third-row passengers. This demonstration of WiMedia (www.wimedia.org) UWB in an automobile was supposedly the first of its kind. Clearly, it sets the stage for new technology and content development for RSE systems in family vehicles.

Of course, UWB technology continues to make headway in home entertainment as well. In December, WiQuest Communications, Inc. introduced a chip set incorporating the company's Wireless Digital Video (WiDV) technology. This technology delivers the wireless transmission of high-quality digital video for personal-computer (PC) and high-definition-television (HDTV) applications. Like other protocols, such as Wireless USB, WiDV builds upon the WiMedia Common Radio Platform. The WQST100 and WQST101 chip set vows to deliver the highly efficient wireless communication of digital video coupled with 1-Gb/s speed.

The rapid evolution of UWB technology serves as a good example of how quickly today's wireless technologies are changing and developing. To help stay abreast of these technology developments, the staff of Microwaves & RF is presenting a special webcast series. Sponsored by Agilent Technologies, the series comprises six webcasts. Five of the webcasts focus on the challenges of designing for WiMAX, UWB, Bluetooth, ZigBee, and Wi-Fi. The last webcast will examine the test requirements that are pertinent to all of these wireless technologies. The first webcast, which focuses on WiMAX, will take place on February 22. Register today at www.mwrf.com/dfw

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