Analyst: UWB to Dominate Home Networking by 2006

Wireless home networking will be the key to adoption of ultra wideband (UWB) in the marketplace, according to a new market-research report issued by In-Stat/MDR. Analyst Gemma Paulo expects that major players like Intel, Cisco, Motorola and Sony will enter the UWB market with products in late 2003, setting up a battle with 802.11x technology for supremacy in the wireless home market.

Paulo predicts that UWB will gradually grow its marketshare in the home market, with the first UWB devices unveiled at next January’s Consumer Electronic Show (CES), followed by shipping products by Christmas season 2003. These initial product shipments won’t gain market momemtum until 2004 and beyond, but Paulo is conservative about UWB’s share of the total wireless home market, anticipating that UWB won’t comprise more than 5 percent of the total shipments through 2006. Until that time, 802.11x should be the dominant home wireless technology.

“UWB has much to offer in the home networking arena,” Paulo said. “With the popularity of 802.11x technology, especially the growing presence of WiFi [IEEE 802.11b] in the home environment, wireless home networking has come into the forefront.

“Even though Wi-Fi has done very well for data transmission purposes, many questions have been raised over 802.11x’s ability to provide sufficient support for streaming audio and video applications in the home,” she added. “From a topline level, UWB is extremely appealing, since all of its strengths really do address many of 802.11x’s perceived weaknesses.”

She expects that the first UWB products will be geared toward the personal area network (PAN) market, fueled by chipsets shipped by Xtreme Spectrum in the second half of 2002.

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