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Alliance Defines New MAC For UWB Networks

An industry alliance has forged a new media-access controller for ultrawideband networks that proponents said will meet the myriad needs of the PC, consumer electronics and mobile markets.

Details of the new MAC were thrashed out during a five-day session of the Multiband-OFDM Alliance (MBOA) led by Intel Corp. and Texas Instruments Inc. In doing so, the group has effectively rejected the IEEE 802.15.3 MAC, which the IEEE 802.15.3a task group has stipulated as the controller of choice for whichever physical layer that group eventually defines.

The move further complicates the efforts of the task group, which is currently deadlocked in its search for a suitable physical layer (PHY) that would reach rates of 480 Mbits/s at 1 meter, or 110 Mbits/s at up to 10 meters. The dispute pits MBOA against a group the includes Motorola, CRL, decaWave and Oki Semiconductor which is promoting a direct-sequence UWB (DS-UWB) proposal.

While each side continues to back the standards process, both continue to work in parallel to independently bring their respective technologies to market. To that end, MBOA formed its own special interest group in late January.

However, EE Times has learned that the DS-UWB group will announce next Monday (March 22) that it has formed a competing umbrella group. Initially to be called the "DS-UWB Forum," the new group will instead now be known as the "UWB Forum." The name reflects the inclusion of the recently defined common signaling mode (CSM) in Motorola's latest proposal. Forum details - along with a Web site - will be disclosed next week after the IEEE 802 plenary session in Orlando, Fla.

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