FiRa is an organization that is dedicated to developing and disseminating ultra-wideband (UWB) technology for secured fine ranging and positioning capabilities in a wide range of applications. UWB devices are designed to accurately and securely determine the position of other devices. Infineon says it will make use of the company’s expertise in security, connectivity and microcontrollers to help support these goals.
“Infineon sees a great potential in the UWB capabilities for secured fine ranging and positioning. We will actively participate in the standardization activities and support the adoption within smart and trusted solutions for secured transactions and identities,” said Bjoern Scharfen, VP Digital Security & Identity. “UWB has a great potential to enhance Infineon’s offering in security, connectivity and computing.”
Charlie Zhang, Board Chair of the FiRa Consortium and Senior Vice President, Engineering, Samsung Research America said, “With Infineon as a new Contributor member, we now have additional expertise that will bring new perspectives and help to move us forward on our journey.”
When a UWB radio comes into range of another UWB device, the devices start ranging. The ranging is done by performing Time of Flight (ToF) measurements between the devices. TOF is calculated by measuring the round trip time of challenge/response packets. Depending on the type of the application, either the mobile or the fixed UWB device calculates the precise location of the device. When the device is running as an indoor navigation service, it is required to know its relative location to the fixed UWB anchors and calculate its position on the area map.
UWB works by using a very large channel bandwidth (500 MHz) with short pulses of about 2 ns each to help achieve centimetre-level accuracy. The UWB positioning process happens almost immediately to allow mobile devices to be tracked very accurately in real time. The FiRa Consortium supports the 500 MHz band in the Channel 5 to Channel 14 range. As Channel 9 offers the greatest worldwide regulatory acceptance, it is the only channel for which support is considered to be mandatory across FiRa Certified devices.
The market for UWB is expected to grow significantly, reaching more than one billion devices by 2025, according to ABI Research. The technology is already deployed in many leading smartphone platforms as well as selected automotive car access solutions. It is also expected to make inroads into the industrial, IoT and consumer sectors. UWB is highly secure and robust and it allows real-time positioning of devices within a few centimetres with very low latency, even with multiple devices in a crowded environment.
Infineon’s purchase of Cypress in 2020 brought a significant expertise in connectivity (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth) as well as in microcontrollers. Being heavily involved already in automotive, payment, identification and embedded security, Infineon sees UWB’s secured ranging offering a huge potential to partner products with Infineon's smart and trusted solutions. However, the adoption of the technology is highly dependent on availability and ease of implementation making standardization key to UWB's success. Therefore, Infineon will actively drive progress within the FiRa consortium for all relevant markets and devices.