Bluetooth High-Speed Technology Puts Pressure on UWB

WELLINGBOROUGH, UKIn April, the Bluetooth Special Interest Group formally adopted Bluetooth Core Specification Ver. 3.0 High Speed (HS) or Bluetooth 3.0. Thanks to the inclusion of the IEEE 802.11 Protocol Adaptation Layer (PAL), Bluetooth 3.0 provides increased data-transfer throughput at the approximate rate of 24 Mb/s. Mobile devices including Bluetooth 3.0 will also realize increased power savings due to built-in enhanced power control. The high-speed version is backward compatible with older Bluetooth devices, but they wouldn't be able to take advantage of the extra speed. In addition, it still uses the same protocols for establishing connections. While the industry considers the many applications enabled by the new version of Bluetooth, many also wonder what this launch signifies for ultra wideband (UWB) technology.

Over the past several years, UWB has made slow headway while startup companies like WiQuest and Tzero have disappeared. Yet UWB will need to make a significant breakthrough for it to impact the progress that is being made by Bluetooth 3.0. Despite UWB's struggles, the technology provides a number of wireless-personalarea- network (WPAN)-specific advantages over Wi-Fi. According to Emma Naudo, Research Analyst at IMS Research, "The difficulty for UWB is that, unlike Wi-Fi, it is not mature and doesn't have an established ecosystem. This lack of support has proved to be influential in the Bluetooth SIG's choice for their first version of the high-speed technology. The SIG, however, have already announced that they are still working on the integration of UWB with Bluetooth for future versions of this technology."

UWB success is reliant upon the development of a supporting ecosystem. Yet several other competing technologies could impact the success of Bluetooth high-speed technology. The potential for 802.11 and UWB as the high-speed data pipe for Bluetooth and the future of classic Bluetooth in different application areas will be discussed in IMS Research's Bluetooth report, 2009. For more details, contact Emma Naudo, at [email protected].

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