Establishing a "Gold Standard" for UWB
May 30, 2006
Tzero and Tektronix plan to test ultrawideband performance.
Last week, chipmaker Tzero Technologies announced that it is working with testing company Tektronix to establish a gold standard for ultrawideband (UWB) equipment testing. The aim is to offer a test for UWB that verifies superior performance and reliability. The two companies will be demonstrating the test equipment at the upcoming Wireless USB Developers Conference in San Jose.
Dan Karr, Tzeros senior vice president of marketing and Sales, says the objective of the testing is to highlight the higher performance of his companys UWB solution, which is designed to enable wireless transmission of broadcast quality video. Thats unusual in the wireless space in general, but also in UWB, he says.
Tzeros efforts, Karr says, are focused on meeting the needs of leading consumer electronics (CE) companies. In June of 2003, Panasonic, Philips, Samsung, Sharp and Sony made a presentation to the IEEE 802.15 and said, This is what we need for consumer electronics: we need link reliability of 95 percent, and we really want more than 98 percent; we need a 10-8 packet error rate; we need to be very interference-resistant from all kinds of devices; we want multiple streams of high definition content at at least 10 meters; and then the whole point of wireless is that its easy to install, he says.
In addition to meeting or exceeding the CE companies stated requirements, Karr says, key to Tzeros offering is the fact that the solution includes the RF, the MAC and the PHY. Thats given us the ability to really enhance the performance, he says. If you do a partial implementation, like PHY and RF, you cant get all the quality of service elements that you need to be able to address broadcast quality video so taking on the complete challenge was really fundamental to our enabling the video market.
That market, Karr says, is likely to commence with a focus on connecting flat panel displays to personal video recorders, set top boxes and gaming consoles. Then, over time, as the power comes down on the chipsets that are available, and as the fixed component CE devices become more prevalent, well start to see this adopted into notebooks, camcorders, speakers, iPods, things like that, he says.
The only real competition that Tzero has in this space, Karr suggests, is a wired solution but wired, of course, cant hold a candle to UWBs flexibility and ease of installation. A lot of people assume 802.11n is the first alternative, he says. It certainly addresses the ease of installation point, but it hasnt been designed for broadcast quality video and we dont think people are going to be willing to suffer in quality in exchange for the ease of installation.
The nice thing about a solution like Tzeros, Karr says, is that seeing is believing. We see this as a market where, if you dont meet the needs, it becomes apparent very quickly, and its apparent to everyone, he says. It doesnt take a lot of specialized knowledge to figure that out.
In addition to meeting the CE companies needs, Karr says, Tzeros solution meets the WiMedia Alliances requirements for interoperability. We hope that the WiMedia Alliance will be announcing interoperability success here in a couple of weeks, he says. And we can be at one end of the link and still give better performance than using other solutions we dont have to be at both ends of the link.
Karr says Tzero plans to have the solution available in production volumes by July. The availability is going to start with dongle type solutions and media adapters, and we hope to see some of those on the market this fall, Karr says. Then we think itll be integrated into systems from the top tier consumer electronics companies in the second half of next year they tend to have about a one-year design cycle.
According to Rajeev Krishnamoorthy, now the companys CTO, the announcement with Tektronix offers the added credibility of a third partys perspective on Tzeros solution and it also serves as a challenge, he says, to the companys competitors. Customers can use this to validate how good the other offerings from other vendors are, using us a base comparison, Krishnamoorthy says.