Ultra-Wideband (UWB) devices have the ability to transmit at low output power levels over a broad range of the radiocommunications spectrum and are best suited for short range communications/applications.  As such, they are muted as the next advance in wireless short distance applications such as “wireless USB” and may be considered to have greater application use over many existing uses of Bluetooth(tm). 

Given their broad spectrum of transmission and the future possibility of numerous UWB devices in home applications, there is the potential for interference with existing radiocommunications services or other home devices, once multiple UWB devices are operating in the 1 location.  This is due to multiple devices increasing the ambient “noise floor” within a specific environment.  While 1 UWB device may have transmissions that sneak under the EMC CISPR emission noise floor for a Class B device, there’s no doubt that multiple devices will have an additive effect.

It can be argued that electronic devices in European homes and businesses are well equipped to handle noise via the EMC immunity test requirements of the CE Marking EMC Directive. 

This is not the case in Australia or New Zealand, where the ACMA and NZ MED do not require immunity testing of products.  Previous (dubious) arguments for not invoking EU style EMC Immunity requirements in Australia and New Zealand have included the less densely populated nature of Australian and New Zealand communities compared with those in Europe.   This argument becomes invalid when there are so many products in a home competing for the same limited transmission spectrum (typically from 900MHz to 4GHz).

The use in each home of multiple UWB devices, 802.11a/b/g/n, Zigbee, Bluetooth, 2G, 3G, Femtocells and soon 4G, creates a huge potential for interference issues that remain unaddressed by the ACMA’s current and banal C-Tick regime for general products and LIPDs.      

Contact our Australian lab for EMC emission testing of a wide range of products or LIPD testing to AS/NZS4268 for 802.11x/Bluetooth/RKE/RF devices.

The ACMA have produced a discussion paper on UWB with the closing date for submission on 7 June.  Further information can be found here.