New technology expands intelligent life experience


At present, many Internet of Things devices have appeared in the market, which are widely used in smart homes, businesses and industrial environments.

In order to improve the shortcomings of existing connection technologies, new technologies such as UWB (Ultra-Wide Band) and Matter are introduced, which will further expand the intelligent life experience of human beings. This article will show you the technical development of UWB and Matter, and let you have a glimpse of the development trend of the latest technology.

New ultra-low power and short-range wireless technology

UWB technology is an ultra-low power and short-range wireless technology, which can be used to transmit data and capture accurate position and direction information. UWB technology operates in a wide frequency range from 3.1GHz to 10.6GHz, and the channel bandwidth exceeds 500MHz. The high channel bandwidth can provide very high data throughput for communication devices and provide high-precision location information. UWB uses radio technology based on pulse pattern to send short pulses with widths of several nanoseconds to picoseconds, and pulses and spreading spectrum transmission will not interfere with other narrower band systems.

UWB uses time-of-flight (ToF) technology to accurately determine the distance between transmitter and receiver, while ToF is used to measure the distance between Tx and Rx based on the time difference between signal transmission time and the time of receiving the same signal. Here, the angle of arrival (AoA) is used to determine the receiver angle of devices supporting dual antennas at the same time, and the two-way ranging (TWR) is used to calculate the distance between two UWB devices by communicating two UWB devices as the initiator and the responder on Tx and Rx time sequences, and then calculate ToF time. Time difference of arrival (TDoA) is another method used in UWB, which uses multiple Anchors in fixed location to receive UWB signals from Tag, and then uses ToF time in each Anchor to calculate the location of Tag.

The UWB frequency domain of pulse radio (IR) has been standardized in IEEE802.15.4z PHY specification, and the spectrum range has been over 500MHz extended from 3–10.6GHz. The focused channels used include 6489.6MHz of Ch5, 6988.8MHz of Ch6, 7488.0MHz of Ch8 and 7987.2MHz of Ch9.

The power spectrum used by UWB can realize high-bandwidth connection with low power consumption. At a very low power spectral density, narrow signal pulses with a frequency band exceeding 500MHz are sent and received, and since the signal can only travel to a limited distance, it will not interfere with other radio waves.

A main advantage of UWB is high accuracy which is within ±10cm when using the AoA to locate, and it is also stable. In a multipath environment, the 2ns radio pulse with a bandwidth of 500MHz has strong stability, and the transmission distance can reach up to 100 meters within the line of sight. Using cryptographically protected ToF measurement, it has excellent security and real-time performance, and the measured latency is within 10ms.

UWB is widely used, mainly in access control management for enterprises, residences and hotels, with flexible key sharing, reliable inside/outside detection, and multisession support to prevent tailgating entry.

In addition, UWB can also be applied to vehicle access management, supporting accurate hands-free access control with high security. It can be combined with BLE to wake up vehicles, UWB for ranging, SE for security, NFC for access, as well as smart phones based on IR-UWB can be used to get in and out of vehicles safely. NFC, as a backup for smart access to vehicles based on proximity, can greatly improve the security and convenience of vehicles.

On the other hand, UWB can also be used as an item tracker to find lost items, such as earphones, key chains, remote controllers, etc. In the past, BLE technology provided distance information, but UWB can also provide additional direction information to locate items more conveniently.

UWB can also be applied to indoor navigation. UWB supports indoor location-based services, so it is easier to navigate in large buildings. UWB provides powerful positioning in non-line-of-sight scenarios, for example, in crowded, multipath signal environments and other obstacles, it still has good positioning ability, and can be applied to shopping mall, train stations, airports, hospitals, libraries and other typical scenes. UWB can also be used in real-time positioning system and access control management of smart transportation, buildings and offices.


Widely used standardized identification and ranging technology

UWB is standardized by FiRa Consortium. Its mission is to create opportunities by identifying and developing use cases based on IEEE802.15.4z enhanced ranging technology, to ensure seamless end-user experience by defining interoperability standards and certification programs, and to support rapid deployment by fostering the UWB ecosystem. At present, FiRa has more than 100 alliance members, covering all industries.

FiRa Consortium is committed to promoting the interoperability of UWB. Under the existing IEEE 802.15.4/4z standard, the coding and preambles of enhanced UWB PHY and MAC are formulated and the integrity and accuracy, information elements and multiple ranging methods, strengthened. FiRa Consortium has formulated protocols for specific services for several vertical industries, such as hands-free access control, location-based services and device-to-device (peer-to-peer) applications, and defined mechanisms beyond the scope of IEEE, such as how to discover UWB devices and services, configure devices in an interoperable manner, and specified interoperable security requirements, and conducted feature analysis, performance requirements, test methods, procedures and certification programs of 802.15.4/4z PHY/MAC based on the interoperability standard.

Besides, Car Connectivity Consortium (CCC) also standardizes the access of automobiles, defines CCC digital keys, including the standardized mechanism that allows smart phones to enter automobiles more secure, and uses UWB as a secure ranging technology to enable hands-free smart access with smart phones.

According to ABI Research, it is estimated that the annual shipment of UWB will reach 500 million in 2022 and 1.5 billion in 2026. More than 100 million non-smart phone (industrial/consumer/automotive) applications are expected to exist in 2024. At present, products supporting UWB technology have been launched by companies including Apple, Google, Samsung and Xiaomi in the market.

Compared with the current BLE and Wi-Fi technologies, UWB is less than 1m in accuracy, better than BLE and Wi-Fi, stronger in anti-multipath and interference ability, and better in reliability. The data rate of 27Mbps is a weak part, but it can prevent relay attacks (through the distance-time bounded protocol), has higher security, has a latency of less than 10ms, and can access cars within 10m and make indoor location within 30m~70m, all of which are better than BLE and Wi-Fi technologies.

At present, Murata has launched a UWB suite and software development kit (SDK), including 2BP evaluation board (Type 2BP module and NXP QN9090) for Anchor function and 2DK evaluation board (Type 2DK module) for Tag function, which will speed up the development of products supporting UWB.


Communication specification to address IoT security issues

Another new technology to be discussed next is Matter, which is a specification developed and operated by the Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA) and has been supported by many companies in the industry, including platform owners such as Apple, Google and Amazon, major manufacturers such as Samsung and LG, and many small manufacturers focusing on accessories. Matter is the foundation of connected things and a uniform standard for industries providing reliable, seamless and secure connectivity. Matter is not a new protocol, it is a specification about how devices should communicate with each other. Matter can work together through Wi-Fi, Ethernet and Thread protocols.

Matter is a royalty-free proprietary standard for home automation. Manufacturers only need to incur the certification costs for using Matter technology. Certified manufacturers are allowed to use exclusive CSA certified product logos and product listings on the CSA website to indicate compliance and shows interoperability of respective programs. By accessing a vast technology ecosystem and testing with experienced professionals to confirm that products comply with CSA specifications, and the barriers of market entry for manufacturers will be lowered.

Matter was created with security and privacy as the main design principles and benchmarks for building secure Internet of Things devices. Given Matter's considerable focus on security and awareness that concerns about cyberattacks can create hesitation in consumers' minds and thus limit adoption.

Matter combines layered approach with authentication and attestation for commissioning to protect each message and support secure over-the-air firmware updates. It adopts a single strong cryptographic suite based on well-established standards, and passcodes and certificates for setup secure sessions, providing device attestation to ensure authenticity, robust security performance, and improved ease of implementation and use of smart devices, as well as protection, detection and recovery capabilities, distributed compliance ledgers to enhance resilience and scale, and crypto-flexibility to respond to new developments and threats. Matter may also provide guidance to device manufacturers to select the use cases for risk and threat analysis associated with their devices and the corresponding platform security.


Protect consumers' data privacy and security

Matter aims to build a universal communication protocol based on IPv6 for smart home devices, which defines the application layer and different link layers to be deployed on devices to help maintain interoperability and security. Matter attaches great importance to data privacy to protect consumers' personal information during consumption and transaction. Matter embeds the principle of data privacy in all interactions between devices that handle personal information and software agents. In order to obtain comprehensive protection, it needs additional support from the operating environment and infrastructure of Matter devices.

Matter uses the highest level of civilian cryptographic standard for network communication to ensure that unauthorized entities cannot easily access or tamper with the data communicated between Matter devices, so as to maintain confidentiality and integrity. Matter device identification requires a cryptographic certificate, so data will only be shared between acquainted Matter entities. Matter uses open standards to allow anyone to check templates for Matter interaction between legitimate Matter nodes. Data shared in Matter interaction is minimized, thus reducing the possibility of inadvertent leakage of information. Data shared between Matter nodes is strictly used for definitional purposes, i.e. only for specific operation of devices required by the Matter protocol, and encryption is used to ensure that neither the message nor identity of the parties to the communication is explicit on the network and has a perfect privacy protection mechanism.

Matter is the required foundation for connected things and the new standard for smart homes allowing simple purchase steps and usage, interoperable collaboration between different brands, reliable local connections that are consistent and responsive, as well as powerful and simplified functions in security for both developers and users.


The UWB and Matter technologies introduced in this article are new technical standards to improve the security and convenience of the current Internet of Things, which will greatly enhance consumers' security concerns when adopting Internet of Things technologies and device, and speed up the popularization of Internet of Things and smart home applications. For deeper understanding of these two new technologies, please contact Arrow Electronics for more technical and product information.


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