Ultra-wideband results delayed
- By Bryant Jordan
- Nov 14, 2000
Federal officials and commercial vendors awaiting the results of tests of
ultra-wideband products and their effects on the Global Positioning System
and other critical systems will have to wait a bit longer.
Test reports originally slated to be submitted by Oct. 30 are now expected
to come in next year — one report in mid-01/and a second by the end
of February, according to the National Telecommunications and Information
Reasons for the delay range from a failure on the part of vendors and
government to supply items for review to a delay on the release of funds
to run the experiments.
One test, to measure the effects of ultra-wideband signals on GPS receivers,
fell behind because test equipment was so hard to set up and calibrate,
according to an Oct. 31 letter from a top Commerce Department official to
the head of the Federal Communications Commission.
Gregory Rohde, assistant secretary of Commerce and administrator of
the NTIA, said that tests were also delayed because of difficulties getting
GPS devices and the information needed to test them, difficulties in setting
up automated tests and delays in funding.
A spokesman for Rohde said his office will not comment further on the
testing process beyond what is in the letter.
Robert Fontana, president of Multispectral Solutions Inc., said he was
not surprised by the delay. He said he previously wrote to the FCC asking
the agency to extend the deadline for comments on ultra-wideband until March
or April 2001 instead of the first part of the year.
Fontana said he expected a two-month delay, and "sure enough, that's
exactly what happened."
MSSI contributed several devices to be used in testing, including a
handheld radio with an ultra-wideband transceiver, an ultra-wideband ground
wave radio designed for non-line-of-sight operations — between boats, for
example — and a radar device used for altimetry and collision avoidance.
Other companies were also supposed to turn over devices to the government
for testing. In his letter, Rohde did not say which companies had provided