Tag Archives: Wireless

The Future of Indoor GPS Part 3: The Broadening Appeal of Ultra Wideband

UWB 2

In the previous installment of our blog series on indoor positioning, we explored all that Bluetooth 5.1 has to offer.  This week, we will examine what may be a major wireless technology of the future: Ultra Wideband.

In September 2019, the inclusion of a U1 chip was listed among the innovations announced with the  iPhone 11. The U1 chip provides Ultra Wideband (UWB) connectivity. Those knowledgable on UWB recognize that the inclusion of the U1 chip is a major step toward UWB becoming a household name technology like Bluetooth and WiFi.

HISTORY

UWB signifies a number of synonymous terms, including impulse, carrier-free, baseband, time domain, nonsinusoidal, orthogonal function and large-relative-bandwidth radio/radar signals.

Guglio Marcone, UWB innovator

Guglielmo Marconi, UWB innovator

UWB was first employed by Guglielmo Marconi in 1901 to transmit Morse code sequences across the Atlantic Ocean using spark gap radio transmitters. Development began in the late 1960s with pioneering contributions by Harmuth at Catholic University of America, Ross and Robbins at Sperry Rand Corporation, and Paul van Etten at USAF’s Rome Air Development Center in Russia. In the early 2000s, UWB was used in military radars, covert communication, and briefly in medical imaging applications such as remote heart monitoring systems. Its adoption lagged until commercial interests began exploring potential innovative uses.

MODERN USAGE

via Sewio

via Sewio

UWB is a short-range wireless communication protocol. It differs from WiFi and Bluetooth in that it uses radio waves operating at a very high frequency. Ultra Wideband alludes to the wide spectrum of GHz of the waves it utilizes, 5000 MHz or higher. Wi-Fi and LTE radio bands are about one-tenth as wide, typically ranging from 20 to 80 MHz. UWB is like a radar that can lock into objects to identify their location and transmit data.

Apple describes UWB technology as providing “spatial awareness”—it can continuously scan a room and precisely lock onto specific objects. One of the major applications for it in the iPhone 11 is the ability for the user to point their device at another device to target it for an Airdrop.

INDOOR POSITIONING

The primary usages of UWB are expected to be in indoor positioning, location discovery, and device ranging according to IDC research director Phil Solis. Compared to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, UWB is extremely low power and the high bandwidth makes it perfect for relaying mass amounts of data from a host device to other devices around 30 feet away. Unlike Wi-Fi, UWB is not particularly good at transmitting through walls, but its robustness against interference and high data rate (110 kbit/s – 6.8 Mbit/s) enable ideal, ultra-precise indoor positioning.

The inclusion of the UWB U1 chip in the iPhone 11 paves the way for applications in indoor mapping and navigation, smart home and vehicle access and control, enhanced augmented reality, and mobile payments that are more secure than NFC.

MASS ADOPTION

As new applications continue to emerge and the demand for indoor positioning increases, the major hurdle UWB faces is a lack of existing infrastructure. Apple and Huawei, the two largest smartphone makers in the world, are developing UWB projects, including chip and antenna production. Apple’s decision to include it in the iPhone 11 is the first time a UWB chip will be deployed on a smartphone. As trendsetters, it stands to reason that UWB will only grow in popularity from here and mass adoption may be inevitable.

Stay tuned for the next entry in our Indoor Positioning blog series which will explore RFID Tags!

How 5G Will Inspire a Technological Revolution

5g

In our last blog 5G: Exploring the Fifth Generation of Cellular Mobile Communications, we explored an overview of what 5G is and when it will be rolling out in your city.

Now, it is time for the fun stuff! 5G will change the way we interact with technology on a daily basis. Here’s a rundown of some of the revelatory applications enabled by 5G which will shape the future of our world:

THE INTERNET OF THINGS

Via Toxsl Technologies

Via Toxsl Technologies

In 2016, we wrote about how the Internet of Things will eventually enable smart-worlds. 5G is necessary in order to facilitate those changes. Most of the biggest innovations enabled by 5G are related to the Internet of Things. The world currently has sensors that are embedded in devices and objects and can communicate with each other, but they require a great deal of resources and quickly deplete LTE’s data capacity. 5G will give these sensors the ability to transmit data at speeds necessary to operate more efficiently. It will save lives by enabling smart bridges to communicate with cities and municipalities about when they require maintenance, among many other potential applications.

AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES

Via Seeking Alpha

Via Seeking Alpha

The world is at a cross-roads when it comes to autonomous vehicles. The demand is here, but in order to justify legislation, autonomous cars must be ostensibly fool-proof. 5G will enable the speed necessary for autonomous vehicles to communicate with other vehicles on the road, saving lives in the process. According to Joy Laskar, CTO of Maja Systems, self-driving cars of the future will generate an estimated two petabits of data—that’s two-million gigabits! When dealing with automotive vehicles, people’s lives will be dependent on the transmission of data. Put it simply, until 5G receives a mass roll-out, it’s unlikely that autonomous cars will become the primary vehicles on the road.

HEALTHCARE

Via Fortinet

Via Fortinet

Imagine remote diagnoses that enable people worldwide to have access to expert doctors. Imagine robot-assisted surgery that is more precise and cost-effective. Imagine 5G-powered Augmented Reality applications allowing physical therapists and patients to communicate remotely.

These are just a few of the innovations that 5G will enable within the healthcare space. 5G will eventually enable much more precise and efficient hospitals. It will give patients more personal care. Consulting firm IHS Markit reported that “5G-enabled” output between 2020 and 2035 will total at $12.3 trillion. Of that amount, roughly $1.1 trillion will encompass sales enablement in healthcare.

VIRTUAL REALITY AND AUGMENTED REALITY

Via Upload VR

Via Upload VR

Experts within the VR and AR industry believe 5G will unlock the full potential of VR and AR technology. 5G will enable VR devices to offload intensive computational work to the cloud, making VR devices smaller and increasing the fidelity of VR experiences. AR displays in autonomous cars will likely become the norm. 5G will enable VR live streaming of sporting events, creating a revolutionarily immersive viewing experience. As with autonomous cars, we will not see the full potential of VR until 5G receives mass adoption.

TAKEAWAYS

5G will permanently change the global economy. 5G will generate new revenue, facilitate new growth, and accelerate innovations beyond our wildest dreams. Dr. David Teece wrote that 5G will put mobile technology at the center of a global economy characterized by the Internet of Things turning into a true general-purpose technology. While each evolution of the cellular generation has brought amazing advancements to society, 5G promises to bring the most radical breakthroughs of any of previous generations. Ready or not, 5G is about to bring interconnectivity to a whole new level.

5G: Exploring the Fifth Generation of Cellular Mobile Communications

In December 2018, AT&T made history by becoming the first mobile carrier to roll out 5G service. The average person probably thinks that 5G is merely a high-speed cellular service, however, technology aficionados know it’s much more than that—5G has the potential to facilitate major technological shifts in the way our world works. In our two-part series, the Mystic Media Blog will take a look at what 5G is and how it could shift our society.

WHAT IS 5G?

Let’s start with the basics. The G in 5G stands for Generation. 5G is the 5th generation of wireless technology. 5G will bring exponentially faster download & upload speeds with reduced latency, enabling many practical high-tech innovations across many different industries, in addition to many new consumer applications.

SPEED

4G has been the prevailing cellular technology for the past 5-8 years. 4G is currently responsible for the high speeds powering your phone. While 4G speeds average about 16.9 megabits per second (Mbps), 5G promises to deliver speeds at the Gigabit level, greatly enhancing the things your devices can do. For example, while 4G allows for streaming in HD, 5G will make it possible to stream 4K HDR content.

ACCESS

The appeal of 5G is not just speed, but access as well. 5G will allow many more devices to connect to 5G networks at once. In order to facilitate this, carriers will have to use more cell sites. Currently, there are about 25,000 200-foot cellular towers blanketing large portions of the US with cellular service. 5G will change that, in fact, there will be far more 5G cell sites in the future, each covering a smaller region. These are called “Small Cells” and function differently from large cellular towers.

Check out Verizon’s awesome breakdown of what “Small Cells” are and their importance below.

LATENCY

5G will also greatly reduce latency, or the amount of time it takes for devices to communicate with each other’s wireless networks. For online gamers, reduced latency has a great deal of applications, as well as in healthcare, autonomous vehicles, and many other examples which we’ll cover in our next blog on what 5G can do for the future.

SPECTRUMS

Unlike 4G LTE, 5G operates on three different spectrum bands.

Low-band spectrum is a sub-1GHz spectrum. It is primarily used by carriers in the US for LTE and offers great coverage area, great building penetration, and peak data speeds of 100Mbps.

Mid-band spectrum provides faster coverage and lower latency than low-band, but fails to penetrate buildings as well as LTE. Peak speeds are up to 1Gbps on mid-band spectrum.

High-band spectrum, also known as mmWave, can offer peak speeds of up to 10Gbps with lower coverage area and weak building penetration.

The real innovations facilitated by 5G are happening at high spectrum bands which are less used by cellular companies. Frequencies of 28GHz and 39GHz have large sections of spectrum available to create big channels for high speeds. Those bands have been used for very advanced technologies previously, such as connecting base stations to remote internet links, but they have never been used for consumer devices.

WHEN IS IT ROLLING OUT?

5G’s roll out will be gradual. As mentioned earlier, until there are enough cellular cites for 5G to cover the entire nation, 5G will work together with 4G to augment connection speeds.

AT&T  officially become the first carrier to roll out 5G service earlier this month when the carrier began offering 5G in parts of Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, Louisville, Jacksonville, Oklahoma City, Raleigh, New Orleans, Waco and San Antonio. AT&T will expand 5G in early 2019.

Verizon began offering 5G fixed in homes in October 2018. Verizon’s 5G is currently available in portions of Houston, Indianapolis, and Los Angeles, with plans to roll out standards-based mobile 5G in 2019.

T-Mobile expects to launch 5G in New York, LA, Dallas, and Las Vegas in 2019 with nationwide rollout in 2020.

Sprint will deploy 5G in early 2019 with additional markets in the future.

In our next blog, we’ll explore how 5G will enable innovations that will change the way our world works. Stay tuned!