Freescale touts 1Gbps UWB chip roadmap

Get there in 12 months' time

Motorola's soon-to-be-spun-off chip division, Freescale, has said it will take ultra-wideband (UWB) connections to speeds of up to 1Gbps during the next 12 months.

The arrival of the 1Gbps UWB chipset will be preceded by a 480Mbps version and a 220Mbps part, the latter in Q4 2004, when it will be made available in sample quantities.

The company already offers a 114Mbps UWB chipset, branded XtremeSpectrum, which is currently sampling ahead of volume production next quarter.

The three higher speeds do n0t represent an attempt to evolve the technology to support faster data exchange per se, but to offer a range of speeds, each for different applications. Which chipset customers choose will largely depend on the power requirements of the devices into which they will fit the silicon. Slower chipsets will be pitched at mobile, power-sensitive devices; faster products will go into fixed, mains-powered units.

Freescale believes its product line will be sufficient to meet the consumer electronics industry's needs for "the next three years".

Freescale's chips use the Direct Sequence UWB (DS-UWB) technique. This approach is incompatible with the technique touted by the Multiband OFDM Alliance, which believes UWB should be delivered using Multiband Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (MB-OFDM) technology.

The MBOA is backed by a number of computing and communications industry heavyweights, including Intel and Texas Instruments. The promotion of two strong contenders by some of the biggest names in the business has prevented the IEEE from being able to ratify one or the other as a global standard, 802.15.3a.

Indeed, the MBOA said this past February that it was bypassing the IEEE and pushing ahead with the development of its own UWB spec. in order to break the deadlock.

The MBOA is backed by the Wireless USB Promoter Group, and by the WiMedia Alliance (WMA), an organisation that hopes to turn UWB into the next home consumer electronics interconnectivity standard. It is spearheading work on running FireWire/1394/iLink over a UWB link. The Wireless USB spec. is expected to be completed by the end of the year, and require a 480Mbps connection.

Both wireless USB 2.0 and FireWire will sit on top of a 'convergence layer' being developed by the WMA. This layer sits on top of the MBOA's technology. ®

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