Cutting through the noise
- By Bryant Jordan
- Apr 17, 2000
Think of the airwaves as tens of thousands of multilane intersecting highways
with the traffic — communications signals — to match.
The government regulates the airwaves in much the same way it regulates
traffic, and for the same reason: to avoid chaos and disaster. Everyone
operates in specific frequencies — their lanes, so to speak — and if everybody
obeys the rules of the road, then traffic moves safely and smoothly.
Ultra-wideband lets you to drive in everyone's lane regardless of flow,
direction or density because instead of cruising along like the others in
a specific frequency, you're driving the equivalent of a bullet. Your signals
reach receivers in short, fast bursts or pulses. Each pulse carries a unique
signature that enables it to be picked up and interpreted by receivers.
Because data is transmitted in pulses, only microseconds apart, they can
cross other frequencies without disrupting them.
"The narrower the pulses, the more spreading you have [across the spectrum].
That reduces the potential [for] interference with other frequencies," said
John Reed, senior engineer at FCC's Office of Engineering and Technology.