Industry Canada says that despite the inability of an Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ (IEEE) working group to come to a consensus on a standard for ultra wideband technology, there will be little impact on the department’s decision to allow the technology’s use in the country.  Last month, two rival associations each trying to get their respective approach to ultra wideband technology adopted by the IEEE as a standard decided to dissolve the IEEE 802.15.3a working group. The move, according to several reports and Industry Canada, doesn’t come as much of a surprise to the industry and had been expected for some time since standards discussions stalemated.  One Industry Canada official tells Report on Wireless that the issues at play within the IEEE working group were relevant to the implementation of UWB in devices, such as access strategy, modulation technique and codec, for example – elements that have little to do with the work of regulators. Salim Hanna says the department doesn’t dictate implementation standards; that’s up to the industry to settle.  "We look at the higher level," he explains. "The issues of concern to us as a regulator are average and peak power emission levels, what frequency bands operate in, operational requirements on devices, and measurement techniques of transmissions."  Says Hanna: "Based on the fact that we were anticipating what happened there , I could say the recent developments within the IEEE are not likely to have any impact on the domestic process leading to the introduction and use of ultra wideband technology in Canada."  An Industry Canada consultation on UWB last year revealed a split within Canada regarding the introduction of the technology. Many noted that Canada should follow the US and adopt rules the Federal Communications Commission has implemented so as to harmonize the rules. This, they say, will allow Canadians to take advantage of the lower consumer electronics prices due to greater economies of scale.  However, there were many that opposed the FCC rules because interference levels would be unacceptable to existing services (RoW, June 16/05).  "None of the commenters objected to the introduction of ultra wideband technology in Canada, but there are concerns about what are the appropriate emission levels," Hanna says of the department’s dilemma.  He isn’t tipping the government’s hand, though, with respect to the timing of a decision or how the department will rule. Hanna says Industry Canada is closely monitoring developments domestically, regionally and internationally, but won’t base its decision on any particular administration’s rules. A European telecommunications regulatory agency will declare its rules later this spring in a March vote. "We’re following these developments, but we’re not tying our decision to only making a decision . We’re considering the ability of these devices to enter the Canadian market," he says. "We are looking at multiple issues, not only a European decision, but also developments in Europe, Japan and other countries, and development of the industry within Canada."  OFDM versus direct sequence, key battlegroundThe two rival associations are the UWB Forum, a group led by Motorola Inc. spin-off Freescale Semiconductor Inc., and the WiMedia Alliance, backed by Samsung Electronics, Intel Corp. and Texas Instruments Inc.  The UWB Forum wanted the IEEE working group to adopt the use of direct sequence UWB, while the WiMedia Alliance supported the use of multiband OFDM.   Freescale’s chip sends out rapid clicks of radio signals over a wide range of frequencies, while members of the WiMedia Alliance use a method of dividing the spectrum into a large number of channels and transmitting over them simultaneously. Devices with each technique aren’t compatible. As Hanna explains, the issue of concern for both parties "was the interaction between the physical layer and the MAC layer." The battle between the rival groups will now play out in the market as companies from both groups are expected to release products in the near future.  Freescale and the UWB Forum are likely to be the first out of the gate with computer related products. They will be aimed at reducing the number of cables connecting a variety of peripherals.  The WiMedia Alliance won’t be far behind. Its members are, however, looking to the broader consumer electronics industry as their target market. Their first products are expected to be focused on the home entertainment market, though.  Kurt Scherf, VP of research at Parks Associates told Report on Wireless last year that despite the standards battle consumer UWB-enabled devices should have hit the market late last year or early this year (RoW, Feb. 23/05).  "We’re going to see products emerge towards the end of this year or early next year, which is about where I had predicted that to happen a couple of years ago," he said. "I think both sides have taken their time to build up their core group of allies and those companies are going to be among the first I would expect to deploy…UWB products."