For Immediate Release
June 29, 2000
Contact: Ranjit de Silva (202)482-7002
Art Brodsky (202)482-0019


Washington -- Gregory L. Rohde, assistant commerce secretary for communications and information and director of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), announced today that the agency will start a measurement program to evaluate ultra wideband (UWB) systems, a promising new telecommunications technology.

In an announcement to be published Friday in the Federal Register, NTIA said it will take the first steps to determine how UWB devices can be authorized to operate without causing interference to other radio communications or sensing systems.

Rohde said, "The testing plan is a good first step toward learning more about the characteristics of this dynamic new technology and its potential impact on various radiocommunication services. We look forward to the results in the coming months."

UWB transmits very low power radio signals with very short pulses, often in the picosecond (1/1000th of a nanosecond) range using very wide signal bandwidths. Rohde said: "Because of that combination of characteristics, UWB has shown promise for many commercial applications, including wireless communications within buildings and the locations of objects on the other side of walls or other barriers. UWB will be using the same spectrum that is presently being used by conventional radiocommunication devices, including emergency services. Therefore, it will be important to ensure that there are no adverse effects from UWB to these critical radiocommunication services."

The NTIA measurement plan will be placed for public review and comment on NTIA's web site, The plan calls for developing measurement procedures that use commercial, off-the-shelf equipment to measure accurately UWB signal characteristics. The tests also will investigate whether UWB devices will interfere with conventional radio receivers, including those in the radio navigation and other public safety services. The study will be undertaken by NTIA's Office of Spectrum Management in Washington and Institute of Telecommunication Sciences in Boulder, Colo. Support for measurement of very narrow pulsewidths will be provided by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), another Commerce Dept. agency.

NTIA is also developing a measurement and analysis plan to address the potential of interference from UWB to the Global Positioning System (GPS). NTIA intends to seek comment on this plan by late July.