Standards-based vs Proprietary Technology
Standards based technology offers advantages and safeguards which proprietary cannot match. Standardisation means a technology has the support of its industry – it ensures interoperability and future proofing, and thereby contributes greatly to customer confidence. Additionally, as it draws on research from multiple sources, standardisation means technologies are continually improving in their performance, and expanding into new areas and applications. Thus standardisation allows for larger and homogenous markets.
DecaWave's ScenSor is based on the IEEE802.15.4a standard.
The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Standards Association (IEEE-SA) is a leading developer of global industry standards in a broad-range of industries, including: Power and Energy, Biomedical and Healthcare, Information Technology, Telecommunications, Transportation, Nanotechnology and Information Assurance.
IEEE 802 refers to a family of IEEE standards dealing with local and metropolitan area networks including the 802.11 standard with which most of us are familiar under its more common name; WiFi. The IEEE802.15.4 standard was designed to deal with relatively short range Wireless Personal Area Networks (WPAN).
The 802.15.4a amendment to this standard was ratified in 2007 and added two additional physical interface (PHY) standards to the original 802.15.4 standard. One of these additional interface standards is based on Ultra Wideband.
The standard supports 4 different data rates 110kbps, 850kbps, 6.8Mbps and 27Mbps, over 15 different frequency bands at least some of which have now been authorised by regulatory bodies in all the main geographies worldwide. The standard also includes specific support for ranging.
DecaWave’s President and CTO, Michael McLaughlin was instrumental in developing the IEEE 802.15.4a standard.
IEEE802.15.4a is the new alternate PHY for the IEEE802.15.4 standard. It provides communications and high precision ranging / location capability, high aggregate throughput, and ultra low power; in addition to adding scalability to data rates, longer range, and lower power consumption and cost. IEEE802.15.4a adds significantly to the 802.15.4 standard, which is the PHY and MAC specification for Zigbee devices. These additional capabilities over the existing 802.15.4 standard are expected to enable significant new applications and market opportunities.
At DecaWave, we have made a number of key innovations in the implementation of the 802.15.4a standard.
The first is in using a coherent receiver. This is a specific technique that, simply put, allows more energy to be extracted from the received signal than would be the case in a non-coherent implementation. This increases the operating range in non-line-of-sight conditions which is key to operation at a distance indoors where there are likely to be many obstacles and a line of sight between the transmitter and receiver most likely will not exist.
The second is proprietary to DecaWave and is the subject of patent applications. This allows us to implement the design in a significantly smaller silicon area than would otherwise be the case. Generally speaking in semiconductor manufacture cost is proportional to die size so the smaller the die the lower the cost – and our novel implementation allows ScenSor to be the smallest UWB 802.15.4a compliant chip in the market.
Market Opportunities for IEEE802.15.4a vs other standards
|Passive||MHz||802.15.11||802.15.4||802.15.4a||Comments vis a vis 802.15.4a|
|RTLS||Passive||YES||NO||NO||NO||MAYBE||Will significantly penetrate the indoor RTLS market and with dual mode tags will have a presence in outdoor RTLS market|
Networks / Wireless Sensors
|ZigBee||NO||NO||NO||YES||YES||Will significantly penetrate this market for all its indoor uses, bringing significant new features and advantages (mobility, higher data rates, lower power, ranging)|
|WLAN APs||NO||NO||YES||MAYBE||YES||Will penetrate by bringing RTLS capability to WiFi campuses|
|Mobiles||NO||NO||YES||YES||YES||Will penetrate by bringing Location Based Services and Consumer Ranging|
|PCs||NO||NO||YES||MAYBE||YES||Will penetrate by allowing it to be located|