FiRa launches UWB certification program - Embedded.com

FiRa launches UWB certification program

FiRa consortium launches certification program to drive UWB device interoperability, and also reaches 100-member landmark, including all handset manufacturers.

The FiRa consortium has launched the initial phase of a certification program aimed at driving interoperability between ultra-wideband (UWB) devices.

The certification program is the first to provide baseline testing and certification focused on UWB’s pinpoint location and spacing capabilities, a key step needed to facilitate interoperability of devices. FiRa said this is an essential component of its vision for the future of fine-ranging UWB where certified smart phones can find location tags, securely unlock doors and interact seamlessly with consumer electronics built using FiRa-certified UWB technology from any vendor.

All FiRa Certified devices will be tested by independent authorized test laboratories (ATLs) using the FiRa device certification process. Devices must meet FiRa specifications for MAC/PHY conformance – demonstrating that the device conforms to the relevant FiRa specifications.

Fira Certified

“Interoperability across vendors is foundational to the growth of any open technology ecosystem,” stated Reinhard Meindl, co-chair of the compliance & certification working group at FiRa Consortium. “Our base certification program is an important first step, ensuring an essential layer of conformance as we build a platform for continued growth in UWB usage.”

Manufacturers can now start moving towards certifying their devices for MAC/PHY conformance. The first products will be certified by the end of 2021, with many more expected to be certified in 2022. FiRa Consortium will continue to develop UWB certification for layers above MAC/PHY, with the next iteration slated for mid-2022.

The UWB MAC technical requirements and the PHY technical requirements specifications have been developed by the FiRa Consortium using the high-rate pulse (HRP) portion of the IEEE 802.15.4-2015 technical specification and 802.15.4z/D08 draft amendment for fine-ranging UWB technology. The IEEE defines the MAC and PHY lower protocol layers which are then used by the FiRa Consortium to develop profiles on top of the IEEE defined protocol layers.

The FiRa Consortium UWB MAC technical requirements defines elements such as how ranging protocol works, types of ranging that are supported, the parameters and format of the messages that are exchanged, and how ranging messages are encrypted. Similarly, the FiRa Consortium PHY technical requirements specification document released in early April 2020 leverages select portions of the IEEE specification to facilitate interoperability between FiRa Consortium certified UWB-enabled products.

100 members, including all phone manufacturers

In addition to the certification program, the FiRa Consortium also said it had now surpassed 100 members and emphasized that this includes all of the top handset manufacturers globally, plus market leaders across semiconductors, networking, secure access, and consumer technology. Charlie Zhang, board chair of the FiRa Consortium, commented, “UWB is fast becoming a pillar of wireless local connectivity technology alongside Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. When combined with the membership momentum we are seeing, our certification program signifies that the market is prepared and ready for broad implementation of UWB across market sectors.”

The sponsor members of the consortium include Apple, Bosch, Cisco, HID, NXP Semiconductors, Qorvo, Qualcomm, Samsung, Thales, and Allegion. Contributor members include 3db Access, Facebook, Google, Redpoint, Sony, STMicroelectronics, Xiamoi, and Tsingoal.


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