ultra wideband tag device

Ultra Wide Band - Can it Really Change the Future of our Industries?

Every once in a while a new technology arises that promises to revolutionize the way things are done. Not only does it increase our current capacities, it also makes the future more exciting while requiring less struggle.

One of the latest of such innovations is the ultra wide band technology. Even though the future of UWB is incredibly exciting, it is already extremely popular at the present moment and already changing the possibilities of what we can achieve with our devices.

Understandably, despite its importance, not many people have an in-depth understanding of the ultra wideband revolution for real-time location systems. To remedy this, we have provided a comprehensive guide below explaining everything you need to know about this promising innovation.

What is Ultra Wide Band?

Ultra wide band is a powerful, short range wireless communication protocol that carries out its operations using radio technology. Examining this simple definition, it is clear to see that UWB does share some similarities with Bluetooth and WiFi which both operate using the same medium. But as we’ll see soon enough, there are some unique characteristics and capabilities that make ultra-wideband so valuable. One of these is the fact that UWB is capable of operating at very high frequencies. That allows it to be used to capture spatial and directional data to a really high level of accuracy. One of the best ways to describe UWB would be to consider it a radar that scans continuously and is capable of discovering and locking on to an object, identifying its location, and communicating with it.
ultra wide band technology sign

How does UltraWideBand work?

Because of its incredible capabilities, everyone is excited about the future of the ultra wide band technology. And while, as we’ll see below, most of its applications can be accessed by regular users without having an in-depth understanding of how it works, it doesn’t hurt to have this knowledge for yourself. So how does ultra wideband work? Well, first of all, UWB initiates a ranging protocol in its devices whenever a UWB enabled device is near another. Ranging is the process of calculating the time of flight between two devices, that is, the time taken for the roundtrip challenge-response packets. Then the technology’s positioning process begins to track the device’s movements on a real-time basis, making it possible to understand both its motion characteristics and relative positioning.

Ultra Wide Band Technology

How does UWB work? Ultra wide band operates in a 500MHz channel bandwidth using two nanosecond pulses, which are both large and short enough respectively to achieve an incredible level of real time accuracy. Devices making use of this technology are so powerful that they can also accurately measure the distance between two devices, and tell whether a device is stationary, moving closer, or moving farther away from other UWB equipped devices.

The Ultra Wideband Chip

Devices such as the samsung galaxy smarttag+ makes use of ultra wideband chipsets produced by NXP. According to NXP, devices enabled with the ultra wide band chip are able to deliver remarkable results in two critical scenarios – accuracy in line-of-site (LoS) and strong localization in non-line-of-site (nLoS) scenarios. They also make use of angle-of-arrival (AoA) technology to provide precise and accurate real-time measurements down to the centimeter level.
ultra wideband chip schematic ico

What is Ultra-Wideband used for?

Ultra wide band makes use of a broad range of frequencies to transmit data. Its data transfer rate over short distances is remarkably high, and as such, it is often put to use in a handful of technological devices to allow them to communicate more effectively and more accurately with each other. The following are some of the categories of devices in which you’ll often find UWB being used.


Thanks to ultra-wideband, smartphones are able to achieve a higher level of spatial awareness and directional communication. For example, thanks to UWB, smartphones can now locate and communicate with devices such as speakers, apple watch series, hands free access control, smart locks and even other smartphones in their vicinity (so long as they also have uwb enabled) with very high precision and accuracy.

Indoor Positioning & Location Tracking

Ultra wideband can also be put to great use in indoor positioning and location tracking. Again, thanks to its accuracy, UWB location systems can be used to precisely track objects and people.
Companies and individuals can use UWB location systems to track assets, navigate indoor environments smoothly, and enable proximity-based access control. For instance, workers in a manufacturing facility can keep up with each other’s movements better and more precisely through the ultra wide band tech.

uwb range icon

Is Ultra Wide Band worth it?

Getting ultra wideband offers so many benefits that it wouldn’t be wrong to say that the technology is absolutely worth it for most of its enthusiasts. Will it be worth it for you? Well, the answer is that it most likely would be. But of course, the value that you’ll get from it greatly depends on what your specific case is and what you’re going to be using it for. If you’re particular about high-speed transfer of data, high precision ranging and secure communication, then getting a device enabled with ultra wide band will definitely be worth it. Now on the other hand, if what you’re more specific about is carrying out operations that require lower ultra wide band range and lower bandwidth, then you don’t really need to prioritize UWB location tracking as much.
ultra wideband tag

What is an UWB Tag?

An ultra-wideband tag (also known as UWB tag) is a small device that utilizes UWB technology to facilitate smooth and accurate communication with other UWB devices. You will find UWB tags in use in a range of applications, most popularly location tracking, asset management and other applications that have to do with high precision ranging and localization.
How do UWB tags work? Well, to put it simply, they work by transmitting short, low-power pulses across a broad range of frequencies. In terms of real-world use, you can make use of these tags, for example, as a way of monitoring your assets in a manufacturing facility, or even in facilitating contactless payments on payment gateways.

UWB Sensor & UWB Positioning

UWB sensors make UWB positioning tracking possible. They can be used in proximity sensing, that is, they can sense when something (a UWB device) or even someone is in close proximity. Of course, such a functionality can find applications in various scenarios, one of which is access control. They are also employed in gesture recognition tools. Ultra wideband sensors and UWB pulses can also be applied in robotics, and even in healthcare.

Ultra Wideband Chip & UWB Tracking

Ultra wideband chips in ultra wideband UWB devices allow for a tracking system that offers a number of advantages over their alternatives. Not only are they remarkably accurate down to the centimeter, they can also be put to use in a number of challenging environments. UWB tracking devices aren’t affected by conditions such as obstacles, low light, and even high interference. These systems work by using time-of-flight to determine distance between anchors and the person or target object discover. By employing several anchors and triangulation techniques, these systems are able to operate at a high level of UWB positioning accuracy.

What are the differences between Ultra Wide Band and Wi-Fi and Bluetooth?

Wi-fi, Bluetooth, and ultra wide band are all wireless forms of communication between devices. Although they have a handful of fundamental similarities, ultra wideband separates itself from the other two through a handful of key criteria, including the following.

Range of UWB Frequency

Ultra-wideband and WiFi/Bluetooth may operate using the same medium, but they do not operate on the same frequency. UWB, unlike the other two, is capable of operating across a very wide frequency range. It can operate, in fact, from 3.1GHz to or 10.6GHz. Bluetooth, on the other hand, operates at 2.4GHz only. This same quality also greatly impacts how much data can be sent through each channel (high data rate or low data rate), and of course, UWB is superior in this regard as well.

Data Transfer Capabilities

Apart from the superiority in size of data that can be transferred across each channel, ultra-wideband is also superior to Bluetooth and wi-fi in terms of the speed of data transfer. Wi-fi, for instance, usually doesn’t exceed a speed of up to a few hundred megabits per second, while Bluetooth is capped at about a few megabits per seconds.

Ultra-wideband sensors, on the other hand, can transfer data at a rate of up to several gigabits per second.

Frequently Asked Questions

Ultra wideband technology is available in several countries all over the world. Of course, the regulatory status and the specific UWB frequency bands allowed in each country may differ. For example, in the United States, the technology is regulated by the Federal Communications Commission FCC and the allowed frequency range is the same as the available frequency, which is from 3.1 to 10.6 GHz. This allows the technology to be used in applications such as radar, location based services, and communication. In Europe the technology is regulated by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI). Even though the technology is also available within the range of 3.1 to 10.6 GHz, the institute only allows applications in the range of 6 to 8.5GHz. Japan’s UWB technology is regulated by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications and is available within the range of 3.4 to 4.8 GHz, and 6.0 to 10.6 GHz.

One of the most impressive parts of using ultra wideband is the fact that it can function appropriately even in the presence of environmental obstacles. That said, one of the external conditions that UWB struggles with is smoke.
Smoke can alter the performance of the technology because fundamentally it still makes use of the radio spectrum and radio waves which can be absorbed, reflected or scattered by smoke.
In some cases, UWB accuracy may still be high even in the presence of smoke. Some of the factors that can impact just how effectively the technology performa under this condition include the density of the smoke, the power of the UWB transmitter, and the frequency of the UWB system.

It is possible for ultra wideband to penetrate human tissue, but the degree to which it does this is subject to a handful of factors. First of all, the frequency of the UWB signal and the power of the transmitter must be at the appropriate level. Lower frequency signals may be able to penetrate deep into human tissue, while higher frequency signals may not. Additionally, the transmitter power must be high enough as low power transmitters will find it hard to penetrate deep into a human tissue.
Yes, ultra wideband signals may interfere with other signals. Again, the extent to which they do this depends on the power and frequency of the UWB signal, and the power and signal of the other signal with which they may potentially interfere. Therefore, to minimize interference, UWB signals are usually used within a specific frequency band that are allocated to UWB alone. This goes a long way to ensure that no other signal takes that space therefore causing interruption. Additionally, UWB technology also makes use of techniques like spread spectrum and frequency hopping for eliminating interference.
A UWB antenna is a type of antenna whose purpose is to transmit or receive electromagnetic waves from within a range of specified frequency bands. These types of antennas are usually critical to the functioning of ultra wideband systems. Without them UWB devices cannot transmit or receive UWB signals. Usually, this kind of antennas have what is known as a “broad frequency response”, which allows them to cover the required wide range of frequency bands needed for uwb technology. They achieve this through complex geometries, state-of-the-art feeding techniques, and an array of resonant nodes. UWB antennas can be printed, planar, horn, or monopole in design. The appropriate choice will depend on the specific application and requirements.