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Definition: UWB - Ultra-Wide Band - is a communication method used in wireless networking to achieve high bandwidth connections with low power utilization. Originally designed for commercial radar systems, UWB technology has potential applications in consumer electronics and wireless personal area networks (PAN).

How UWB Works

Ultra-wide band wireless radios send short signal pulses over a broad spectrum. For example, a UWB signal centered at 5 GHz typically extends acrosws 4 GHz and 6 GHz. The wide signal allows UWB to commonly support high wireless data rates of 480 Mbps up to 1.6 Gbps at distances up to a few meters. At longer distances, UWB data rates drop considerably.

Applications of UWB

Uses for ultra-wide band technology in consumer networks include
  • wireless USB
  • wireless high-definition video
  • next-generation Bluetooth
  • peer-to-peer connections
Wireless USB replaces traditional USB cables and PC interfaces with a wireless connection based on UWB. The competing UWB-based CableFree USB and Certified Wireless USB (WUSB) standards operate at speeds between 110 Mbps and 480 Mbps depending on distance.

One way to share wireless high-definition video across a home network is via UWB connections. As an alternative to Wi-Fi, UWB's higher bandwidth links can better handle large volumes of content. Several industry standards for wireless video streaming compete with UWB including Wireless HD (WiHD) and Wireless High Definition Interface (WHDI).

Because its radios require low power to operate, UWB technology can work well in Bluetooth devices. While Bluetooth 1.0 and 2.0 did not utilize UWB, newer high-speed versions of Bluetooth may.

The limited range of UWB signals preclude it being used for direct connections to Internet hotspots. However, some industry efforts have existed to enable cell phones with UWB for peer-to-peer applications.

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