Feeds

WirelessHD's 60GHz platform could spark standards war

Destructive power struggle

Remote control for virtualized desktops

"UWB is the technology for today," Wood said in an interview. "We haven't talked about 60GHz radios because they are not mature. We could get consumers all revved up about 60GHz, but we would be doing them a disservice."

"From a technical and regulatory point of view, it will be difficult for UWB to get to 4-5Gbps, so I don't see that technology as directly competitive," Mitchell retorted.

However, the stage could be set for another battle royal under the auspices of the IEEE standards body and its 802.15 PAN process. Already, stalemate in its 802.15.3a working group, which looked to create a UWB-based high speed, short range standard led to Intel, Texas Instruments and others leading a breakaway group, which evolved into the WiMedia Alliance and took its technology off to an alternative standards body, ECMA, for ratification. This led to the death of the 802.15.3a effort, raising questions of how far the various 802.15 standards will coexist in future, and leading to the withdrawal of the other major contender for the platform, Freescale, from the UWB market.

The 802.15.3c standard:

Another 802.15 group, 802.15.3c, continues its work however, and is specifically examining a high speed, non-line of sight wireless PAN in 60GHz. It will accept proposals early next year, coinciding with the first WiHD samples. If the WiMedia Alliance, or individual companies that may feel threatened by WiHD, such as Intel, enter a head-to-head for 802.15.3c, yet another IEEE feud could arise, stalling the development of the market - or driving one or all of the contenders towards trying to set de facto standards, or approaching other bodies. All of this would deal another blow to the already discredited IEEE process.

However, the 802.15.3c physical layer for the 60GHz band could also be coupled with the 802.15.3 or other standards' media access control (MAC) layers to create converged standards that are compatible with existing and emerging networks. The application of a MAC such as WiMedia's to multiple physical layers is a powerful way to create standards that are adaptable to changing spectrum allocations round the world, simplifying interoperability between systems in different bands and streamlining the development effort.

So in the medium term, 60GHz activities - even if WiHD wins 802.15.3c support - should not operate as a threat or alternative to UWB, but rather a chance to extend the benefits promised by UWB to a wider range of devices and applications. A logical extension of all this activity would be to use the UWB physical layer – whether WiMedia or another – in 60GHz too, leading to even greater harmonization and economies of scale. Two issues make this outcome uncertain – whether key regulators will extend the bands in which UWB is allowed to operate above 10GHz, and whether efficient chipsets could be designed.

Some companies are already working on such projects though, although many are in the military space where UWB is allowed freer rein to span its whole spectrum range. Swiss components maker Huber+Suhner is one company with an R&D project in this area, looking at RF subsystems to combine 60GHz and UWB.

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
Broadband sellers in the UK are UP TO no good, says Which?
Speedy network claims only apply to 10% of customers
Virgin Media struck dumb by NATIONWIDE packet loss balls-up
Turning it off and on again fixes glitch 12 HOURS LATER
BEST EVER broadband? Oh no you DIDN'T, Sky – ad watchdog
Rival BT moaned that claim was misleading
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Mitigating web security risk with SSL certificates
Web-based systems are essential tools for running business processes and delivering services to customers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.