What is Ultra Wideband and why it is good for location services?
Danie van der Merwe · Wednesday, 9 June - 17:01
If you’ve been following the world of mobile phone technology of late, you may be aware that Apple’s latest IPhones and AirTag locator tags bring something new to that platform. Ultra wideband radios are the new hotness when it comes to cellphones, so just what are they, and what’s in it for those of us who experiment with these things?
The real trick up the sleeve for UWB comes not in its data transfer capabilities but in location services, because it allows the synthesis of extremely short RF pulses on the order of a fraction of a nanosecond by combining frequencies across that wide bandwidth. These pulses can be used for extremely accurate time-of-flight measurements between transmitter and receiver, allowing for the distance between them to be determined to an accuracy of a few centimeters. In a system such as Apple AirTags where a tag is likely to have visibility to more than one UWB-equipped Apple product, it can then be used for triangulation with several sources, and thus for accurate 2D and 3D positioning.