Digital Media Ultra Wide Band Communication (UWB)

Date:Jan 14, 2021


Ultra Wide Band (UWB) is a short-range wireless communication (RF) technology that transmits large amounts of information at low power over a very wide band compared to the existing frequency band.

UWB is based on a bandwidth of 500 MHz (megahertz) or more, and uses a pulse (Pulse, a voltage or current or wave that produces a large amplitude in a very short time) of about 2 nanoseconds in centimeters. Distance can be measured with an accuracy in (cm).

Because UWB rarely interferes with other wireless technologies, it can be used in parallel with NFC and other wireless technologies such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. This is because Bluetooth uses a specific frequency band of 2.4 GHz (Gigahertz) and Wi-Fi of 5 GHz, while UWB uses a wide frequency band ranging from 3.1 GHz to 10.6 GHz. As a result, it is evaluated that the problem of lack of frequency can be dramatically solved. The transmission speed of UWB is about 500Mbps, which is more than 10 times ahead of the existing technology, but the amount of power required is 0.5W/m, which is 1/100.


The representative service using UWB is the non-contact security access service. In other words, the seamless access control system recognizes the user first and opens and closes the door even if the user approaches the entrance and does not take a pass. Location-Based Services using UWB is also noteworthy. Even in places where communication environments such as airports and shopping malls are congested, UWB recognizes location and direction very accurately.

Also, if you use Device-to-Device/Peer-to-Peer Services, which recognize the distance and direction of two devices, you can easily check the location of your family or friends in a complex space without any infrastructure. In particular, it is attracting attention as a technology that will bring innovation to the home appliance sector and home network, as it can connect PCs, peripheral devices, and home appliances located at a distance of about 10m from the office or home through a high-speed wireless interface.

UWB was developed by the U.S. Department of Defense in the 1950s for military use, but opposed the use of technology, claiming that airlines and cell phone companies interfered with the existing communication system. Accordingly, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has long banned the commercial use of UWB, but in February 2002, the commercial use was approved and commercialized in earnest.

Initially, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth did not have a strong position, but the recent development of the Internet of Things (IoT) has led to an increase in demand for precise location and distance measurement, which has resurfaced. In 2019, the'FiRa Consortium' was launched, in which about 50 companies, institutions and academia participated, including Samsung Electronics, Sony, Xiaomi, and Hyundai Motors. The FiRa consortium develops UWB compatibility standards and defines higher layer technology standards. In addition, similar to the Wi-Fi Alliance, it plans to promote standardization of service protocols using UWB.

Commercialization of UWB is taking place in simple data transmission, prevention of loss of objects, and digital passes. Apple supports UWB service by mounting its own U1 chip in iPhone 12 and new smart speaker'HomePod Mini'. In addition, the UWB-equipped'Air Tag', a terminal for locating lost items, will be released soon.

Samsung Electronics installed the UWB chip manufactured by NXP Semiconductors on the latest smartphones Galaxy Note 20 Ultra and Galaxy Z Fold 2. Through this, it supports'SmartThings Find', a file sharing and device location verification service. NXP and Sony are preparing for non-contact security access and payment services. Through the contactless payment service, payment is possible even while sitting in the driver's seat.