General Atomics Wins Two Industry Awards for Development of Ultra Wideband (UWB) Technology


Nov 23, 2004

SAN DIEGO, CA - General Atomics' Photonics Division has received two major industry awards for its pioneering efforts in developing ultra wideband (UWB) technology for a wide range of consumer electronics applications including wireless video and USB cable replacement.

Frost & Sullivan, a global growth consulting company, honored the GA Photonics Division with its Excellence in Technology Award "for introducing a technology that has the potential to redefine the industry standard" and for promoting new UWB products to the market. In addition, the San Diego Telecom Council has recognized GA for its innovative approach of splitting the FCC-allocated UWB band into a series of individually controllable sub-bands, giving life to multiband UWB and contributing significantly to the growth of the UWB industry in San Diego.

The attraction of UWB technology stems from its ability to more efficiently handle larger data rates than any other wireless technology. With increasing demand for wireless video and high-speed data transfer, wireless consumer electronic devices will require up to 10 times the data transfer rates existing today by as early as 2005. UWB transmitters and receivers, with their low-power short-burst transmissions, easily achieve these data rates and are much easier to build than traditional narrowband wireless equipment.

General Atomics co-founded the Multiband Coalition early in 2003 with three developer companies - Intel, Staccato Communications, and Time Domain. Within a few months, other major companies like Philips and Texas Instruments merged their design concepts. The coalition grew into the Multiband OFDM Alliance (MBOA), with a membership of over 150 companies, representing developers, suppliers, and most of the major international original equipment makers.

The MBOA plans to introduce UWB chipsets by mid-2005. With the UWB standards in a deadlock, GA has decided to introduce an earlier, non-standard chipset available late this year, based on a modulation technique called Spectral Keying. GA's Spectral Keying® approach is incorporated in GA's Aspen™ UWB radio optimized for long-range, high-multipath applications such as wireless video and Universal Serial Bus (USB) cable replacement applications.

"UWB appears to be a good solution for electronic-gadget-rich homes as it enables wireless connectivity between most multimedia devices that require the transfer of massive amounts of data," according to Frost& Sullivan research analyst Sathyaraj Radhakrishnan. "For the PC industry in particular, which has been clamoring for high-speed, short-range cable replacement technology, the GA USB/UWB appears to be the perfect solution."

The GA chipsets are expected to be cost competitive and suitable for high bit rate applications, Radhakrishnan added. Their low power output not only creates very little interference impact on other systems, but also makes them ideal for portable devices such as cell phones and personal digital assistants.

The markets considering UWB in applications include the PC industry (wireless USB), the consumer electronic industry (streaming audio/video), federal government (radars, low bit rate and long range communications), automotive industry (collision avoidance, in-vehicle entertainment), and other specialty vertical industry segments (security, medical, industrial).

David Furuno, leader of GA's Advanced Wireless Group, said, "Our initial product focus has been on building the best UWB solution. By combining mulitband UWB with advanced impulse radio, we've achieved the best combination of performance and low cost."

Jeff Harris, director of marketing for the GA Advanced Wireless Group, said: "UWB has such a wide range of applications it can support, there is room in the market for a variety of solutions. This is clearly a market where one size will have trouble fitting all."

"Some of these customers have a driving need for interoperability, some need range, others require specific data rates, and then there are those who want it all. Aspen addresses those customers who have long range applications and need a low-cost, chip-based UWB solution - today," Harris added.

The San Diego Telecom Council also presented its 2004 Overall Innovator Award to the combined ultra wideband teams of GA and Staccato Communications "for developing and implementing the most advanced ultra wideband communications technologies available today." Included on the GA team were Naiel Askar, David Furuno and Gerald Rogerson.


Doug Fouquet
Public Relations

Jeff Harris
Advanced Wireless Group
858.232.8315 cell


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