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UWB and ZigBee Chipset Markets to Grow
Nov 3, 2004
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The rising need for seamless data connectivity and the increasing role of automation in routine life is propelling the market for ultra wideband (UWB) and ZigBee technologies, respectively.

New analysis from research firm Frost & Sullivan reveals that revenues in the UWB and ZigBee Chipsets markets were U.S. $18 million and $18.8 million, respectively, in 2004. Revenues are projected to reach $443 million and $700 million in the UWB and ZigBee markets, respectively, in 2008.

According to the research firm, the lack of universal legislation regarding spectrum allocation has challenged the adoption of penetration on UWB globally.

"Alliances and companies promoting UWB are expected to demonstrate the performance and capabilities of the technology and the benefits derived thereupon to consumers worldwide to influence the early resolution of the regulations issues," notes Frost & Sullivan Senior Research Analyst Deepa Doraiswamy. "Participants must coordinate with regulatory bodies globally and emphasize that products bought in one region need to be used in other regions, and therefore, the spectrum allocation needs to be uniform."

Factors such as cost, size, and integration are driving chipset manufacturers to choose a suitable process technology to enable enhanced and economical UWB chipset performance, Frost and Sullivan says.

Complementary metal oxide semiconductors (CMOS) process technology offers the benefits of high integration and economy, and silicon germanium (SiGe) semiconductors allow increased die yields and superior power performance, the firm reports.

Initially, it is likely to be beneficial for chipset manufacturers to offer multiple chipset solutions -- the radio frequency (RF) portion in SiGe and the baseband Media Access Control (MAC) in CMOS -- to justify the yields, cost, and low volumes. However, to satisfy the needs of small footprint and high functionalities, Frost and Sullivan says single chip integrated solutions require development, making CMOS a more viable option than SiGe for UWB chipset manufacturers.

ZigBee chipset promoters are taking cautious steps to promote the technology in order to avoid any setback as experienced by Bluetooth, another technology targeting WPAN. Despite the introduction of numerous technologies, only those with performance capabilities have endured in the market, the research firm claims.

"To successfully meet the growing need for an open standards-based solution, participants must ensure that the technology adequately meets demands and is appropriately propagated among consumers -- without projecting it as an ubiquitous technology for all applications," says Doraiswamy. "Care must be taken to ensure that the solutions efficiently meet all promises and ensuing demands, to guarantee successful adoption by end users."

The growing significance of home networking and automation has triggered the need for a short-range technology for wireless control. Frost and Sullivan believes this has created a healthy atmosphere for the increased penetration of ZigBee technology and a growing demand for ZigBee Chipsets.

"Within the next two to three years, a minimum of 100 to 150 ZigBee chips are anticipated to be present in every home," states Doraiswamy.

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