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Ultra Wideband

What is UWB?

Ultra Wide Band (UWB) is a potentially beneficial technology but at this stage only applications with low potential to cause interference have been authorized in Canada.

UWB technology, as an emerging communications technique, had the potential to generate a bewildering variety of useful applications. These applications included

  • the imaging of buried objects,
  • surveying the structural components of buildings for defects,
  • through-wall imaging for security or law enforcement,
  • medical imaging,
  • radio frequency identification tags on consumer products
  • sensing systems used to avoid motor vehicle collisions,
  • and very short- range, high-speed data transmission which might rival more traditional broadband cable and copper access techniques.

UWB devices work by transmitting and receiving very short duration bursts of radiofrequency energy at microwave frequencies. These pulses, or sequences of pulses, result in extremely wideband (up to several GHz) transmissions, but at minute power levels. some types of UWB devices have the potential to be produced in minute sizes, and at very low cost.

Because these devices operate using spectrum occupied by existing radio services, there is a considerable level of international debate on their potential to cause interference. Industry Canada engineer, Dr Salim Hanna head up the International Task Group of the ITU, which is looking into compatibility of UWB devices with other spectrum users.