What is Ultra-Wideband?

What is ultra-wideband? UBW is short for ultra-wideband, a wireless communication that uses the ultra-wideband frequency bandwidth. It is a radio technology that focuses on precise ranges between your devices. The main feature is that it allows high-precision positioning. In layman’s terms, ultra-wideband is a short-range wireless communication protocol that exists with standards like Bluetooth, NFC, and Wi-Fi.

What is Ultra-Wideband?

However, unlike its other counterparts, it works at very high frequencies, and it can be used to capture highly directional and accurate spatial data. You can think of it as scanning radar that can lock onto an object precisely, discover the location, and communicate with the object. In other words, it is used to track down the location of different objects. With Ultra-Wideband, you can secure smart homes and car unlocking in the future.

How Does it Work?

UBW is very different from other wireless communication protocols. And it has spread to too many consumers over the past few years thanks to the rise of devices like the Apple Air Tag.

In addition, this wireless communication helps to enable precise location tracking. An ultra-wideband-enabled device can quickly send and receive data across very short distances. The “plus-based” radio waves are mostly used to measure location timing, precisely how long a radio plus travels between two separate devices.

Also, Ultra-wideband (UWB) wireless communication uses radio waves to enable precise and reliable device-to-device communication. UWB transmitters send billions of radio pulses across a wide spectrum of frequencies, allowing for real-time accuracy by sending up to 1 billion pulses per second.

The duration of the impulse determines the precision of distance measurement, with UWB achieving high accuracy due to its low power usage and high bandwidth. This technology, like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, operates at very high frequencies between 3.1 and 10.6 GHz, providing exceptional location accuracy and security.

Once enabled, devices like a smart key, smartwatch, or smartphone are closer to another UWB device. The devices will start “ranging.”. Ranging in calculating the time of flight between these two devices.

What is it Used For?

Although technology has not fully accepted the entire automotive industry, it is used more every year. Here are some of the ways you can use UWB:

  • Logistics and Manufacturing
  • Loss Prevention
  • Secure Room and Building Exit and Entry
  • Free Billing and Hands-Free Payments for Restaurants, Convenience Stores, Supermarkets, and Other Commercial Facilities
  • Automation
  • Asset tracking
  • Sports
  • Smart Homes

UWB revolutionizes various industries with its capabilities in proximity marketing, customer analytics, indoor navigation, smart homes, factory automation, asset tracking, and logistics.

How is Ultra-Wideband used in Smartphones?

Keyless entry, sports, and driverless cars are things; let’s talk about smartphones. How is UWB being used in the most important device in the world? In recent times, Samsung and Apple have made use of this technology to allow their smartphone lines to take full advantage of location tracking with Galaxy SmartTag+ devices and AirTags. UWB is also used for file sharing over Nearby-Share and Airdrop.

Apart from this, ultra-wideband has not fully been utilized in the smartphone world. It is only used in a few smartphone lines, like Apple, Google, and Samsung. So there is still a very long way to go when it comes to world availability. In the future, you can expect this wireless communication to be used to help parents find their kids using a safe app, call Uber, find drivers, and more. The future of ultra-wideband smartphones is very bright, and it is getting closer each year.

Which Smartphones Support Ultra Wideband?

Although this technology has been around for a few years, it is not as common as Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. It is reserved for the most expensive devices currently on the market because of its limited adoption. However, you can expect this to change as it is now making its way to different tracking devices and mainstream vehicles. At the moment, below are some of the wearable devices and smartphones that support UWB technology:

  • Google Pixel Fold
  • Google Pixel 6 Pro, 7 Pro, and 8 Pro.
  • The entire Apple iPhone 15 family and every other model since the iPhone 11 series. Note: The iPhone SE series does not support it.
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
  • Galaxy S21 Ultra/Plus, S22 Ultra/Plus, and S23 Ultra/Plus
  • Apple Watch Series 6, 7, and 8
  • Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2, Z Fold 4, Z Fold 3, and Z Fold 5.

In the next few years, we expect that smartphones from other manufacturers will include support for this technology.

When is ultra-wideband the best choice?

When it comes to fast location and high-speed data transfer, this technology is the best one to go for. It also works at events that require additional security, like wireless vehicle access.

However, you should know that it is not a direct replacement for other wireless technologies on the market. But it is a good and versatile choice for different cases. Although it is more expensive, it is a really good choice.