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FCC Schedules Ultra Wideband Show

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will host an ultra wideband (UWB) demonstration Thursday morning at the agency's Washington headquarters. UWB is a wireless technology that can transmit data, voice and video over short distances with more flexibility than other radio frequencies.

A year ago, the FCC authorized the commercial deployment of the technology, noting that UWB holds "great promise for a vast array of new applications."

The agency said that UWB promises "significant benefits" for public safety, pointing out the technology's ability to power radar imaging of objects buried under the ground or behind walls, providing rescue workers at catastrophic disaster sites with a valuable, lifesaving tool. UWB also may lead to breakthroughs in medical imaging and also has wired potential as well.

The FCC also noted ultra wideband's potential for short-range, high-speed data transmissions. Despite the public safety or medical imaging aspects of UWB, it has been this last category of wireless broadband transmission -- fully capable of supporting broadcast quality video -- that has set off a flurry of commercial activity that has UWB's proponents predicting a boom in UWB-driven home networking products that will find themselves under this year's Christmas tree.

Unlike conventional wireless radio systems that operate within a relatively narrow bandwidth (i.e. Bluetooth, IEEE 802.11b, IEEE 802.11a) UWB operates across a wide range of frequency spectrum by transmitting a series of very narrow and low power pulses. The UWB industry says this combination of broader spectrum, lower power and pulsed data means that ultra wideband causes less interference than conventional narrowband radio solutions.

Demonstrations scheduled for Thursday include:

  • Communications Systems: XtremeSpectrum will demonstrate a wireless broadcast of two high definition television (HDTV) streams to two separate large screen displays using the company's UWB Trinity chipset. The multiple streams of video offer "wire-like" performance while co-existing with an 802.11b/a system, a microwave oven, a cellular/PCS phone and a cordless phone-all in simultaneous operation during this demonstration. Multispectral will show a UWB intercommunications system it has developed for the U.S. Navy to reduce accidents and injuries by eliminating on-board cabling, providing flight crews with unrestricted movement throughout the aircraft cabin.
  • Thru-Wall Imaging System: Time Domain Corp.'s RadarVision allows users to detect the movement of people behind walls. The hand-held unit, which incorporates Time Domain's PulsON chipset technology, provides a new level of situational intelligence and awareness for law enforcement and public safety personnel.
  • Ground Penetrating Radar System: Mala GeoScience's Easy Locator will be available for a hands on demonstration. GPR systems like the Easy Locator can accurately locate and determine depths to utilities of many types including pipes, cables, conduit, and duct banks in soils favorable to the GPR method. Geophysical Survey Systems will also demonstrate a GPR system for detecting metal or plastic utilities in real time with an added feature that provides 3-D images of underground objects.
  • Audio System: Multispectral will also show a digital wireless audio system designed for CD-quality, wireless speaker and headphone applications.