Speak of the devil ... Bert ---------------------------------- UWB gets 'black eye' review; Freescale pulls plug? Patrick Mannion (12/06/2006 4:12 PM EST) URL: http://www.eetimes.com/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=196602148 A review of an ultrawideband-based Belkin Cable Free USB Hub that's supposed to go on the market in mid December doesn't auger well for the multiband-OFDM version of UWB being pushed by the WiMedia Alliance. It also indicates that Belkin may have erred by rushing to a non-WiMedia-compliant Wisair chipset after its initial UWB chip vendor, Freescale, quietly pulled the plug on its direct-sequence UWB development. WiMedia and Freescale fought to a stalemate within the IEEE 802.15.3a task group over which version of UWB would be best. The task group was finally scratched in January this year. The review, by Ryan Block at www.engadget.com, starts by saying, "The hub is small, the dongle is massive, and the speed and range aren't quite what they're cracked up to be." Though the box stated rates of 480 Mbits/s and distances of up to 30 feet, Block wasn't able to get a connection until moving within a range of a few feet, and even the rates didn't exceed 6.35 Mbits/s. "In other words, you might use this for your printer and small doc sharing, but you definitely won't want to attach your Zune / iPod / Sansa to this thing. Still, is wireless USB and the ability to be the first kid on your street with an Ultrawideband something worth $200 to you?" Belkin and Freescale had, until recently, been demonstrating UWB rates of up to 110 Mbits/s. However, after Martin Rofheart, Freescale's director of UWB operations, left the group and John McCorkle, the scientist and engineer behind Freescale's DS-UWB efforts moved over to focus on cellular development, it became clear that Freescale was losing the faith. Pulling out of the Belkin deal only shores up that conclusion. Freescale's official comment is: "We don't have any announcements related to UWB at this time, we believe UWB will continue to be explored as a high speed, PAN wireless technology and there are many more applications that have yet to be defined. Over the next few years, we will begin to see the impact of UWB as consumer products emerge and consumers using the technology for a variety of multimedia, PC and infotainment applications. As for when consumer devices will be on the market, Freescale can not comment on behalf of those companies." For some observers, the poor performance of the Belkin system is a 'black eye' for UWB that need not have happened if Freescale had stuck it out and kept its partnership with Belkin. It's also possibly a black eye for MB-OFDM specifically, as the Wisair chipset is based on that UWB approach. However, according to Alun Roberts, vice president of marketing at WiQuest Communications (Allen, TX), the review bears little relation to WiMedia's efforts. "This particular Wisair chip set is their own implementation and is not WiMedia compliant and is not interoperable with any other chip set based on WiMedia," he said. WiQuest is working with Belkin to supply the company with WiMedia-compliant chips, possibly for demos at CES 2007. All material on this site Copyright 2006 CMP Media LLC. All rights reserved. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- You can UNSUBSCRIBE from the OpenDTV list in two ways: - Using the UNSUBSCRIBE command in your user configuration settings at FreeLists.org - By sending a message to: opendtv-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx with the word unsubscribe in the subject line.