UWB: A Disabling Technology in the Air?

Discussion in 'The Powder Keg' started by Doglips, Oct 23, 2002.

  1. Doglips

    Doglips Guest

    Hummmmm Just in case any of you terrorist out there are running out of ideas on how to "punish" us western imperialist dogs....popular science and some others are here to help....

    UWB: A Disabling Technology in the Air?
    By Kevin Reichard

    Published September 3, 2002

    Could ultrawideband (UWB) force airplane passengers to forego using their laptops on all flights? Yes, if preliminary tests by Britain's Civil Aviation Authority and NASA prove to be conclusive.

    According to the tests carried out by NASA Langley on a Boeing 747 and a Boeing 737 and reported in The Times of London, UWB systems caused interference with the planes' collision-avoidance and instrument-landing systems. Because of the potential interference, the CAA is debating a ban on all laptops in the future, as flight crews won't be expected to know what laptop devices contain UWB capabilities.

    Before you're ready to write off UWB in laptops, there are a few caveats to the research you should consider. First, NASA researchers didn't test a straight UWB transmission: they applied frequency modulation to the UWB chipset. Secondly, the UWB interference didn't pop up under normal usage and under FCC-approved conditions: they popped up when UWB power levels were raised to 100 times the FCC power requirements. While these tests certainly can be considered an argument against full-power UWB implementation -- an issue the FCC will need to consider in the future -- it does not necessarily apply to current UWB implementations. And all of this is terribly premature: UWB isn't even available in consumer laptops and probably won't be until the end of 2003 at the earliest.

    While the tests are considered preliminary and not conclusive, NASA and the CAA are planing further tests, and it's expected that U.S. airlines and aviation authorities will be considering their own independent tests.