Ultra Wideband (UWB) is a radio technology for transmitting information spread over a large RF bandwidth (>500 MHz) at very low powers and short ranges.

Most radio technologies transmit information by varying the power level, frequency and/or phase of a sinusoidal wave. In contrast, UWB uses very short duration (in the order of nanoseconds) pulses of energy that each fill the entire UWB bandwidth. These pulses can be pulse-position or time modulated in order to obtain very high data throughputs, thus enabling the creation of short-range gigabit-per-second communications systems.

Because the RF energy levels used by UWB are so low (comparable to background radio noise), UWB transmissions do not interfere with other types of radio systems (such as Bluetooth®, which uses adaptive frequency-hopping spread spectrum RF modulation, and Wi-Fi®). Combined with UWB’s high data throughputs, this makes UWB a compelling technology for applications such as video streaming.

Consumer applications for UWB were promoted by the WiMedia Alliance during the “noughties” (the decade from 2000 to 2009). This led to UWB being adopted as the underlying technology for Wireless USB (WUSB), and to the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) adopting it as a high-speed data channel via the Alternative MAC/PHY (AMP) feature of Bluetooth v3.0 + HS. However, Wireless USB has never really taken off (in part due to the rapid improvement in data throughput offered by Wi-Fi) and the Bluetooth SIG eventually dropped UWB due to IP ownership issues.

Kingston Wireless has, in the past, worked with UWB. However, given it’s poor uptake, it is no longer one of our core areas of focus.