Is UWB positioning technology likely to replace Bluetooth and WiFi?

Source: RF Technology Community (

It is believed that many companies are researching positioning technology, from the big WeChat positioning to the small personal positioning, can not be separated from the positioning technology. Accurate connection is inseparable from accurate positioning. When it comes to positioning technology, many people will think of GPS satellite navigation, but GPS is mainly used in outdoor applications, and indoors, because of the blockage of the house, the transmission stability of the interference, often no signal. Therefore, based on the indoor application scene positioning connection technology gradually developed, UWB technology is the best in it.

Intelligent era, connectivity makes the device more "smart". Take the smart lock as an example, after connecting to the network, it can realise the functions of door lock status push, remote APP intelligent control and so on. Put it into the whole-house intelligence, but also connect to other single products, to achieve a key linkage.

At present, the industry is more commonly used indoor positioning technology is Bluetooth, WiFi, etc. In this article, we will introduce a more popular indoor positioning connection technology in recent years - UWB. the technology track has many famous players, such as apple, Google, samsung, oppo, millet, etc., and has launched many intelligent products. It is reported that some of the head enterprises in the smart lock industry are also exploring the application of UWB.

"Where to hit" UWB indoor positioning technology

UWB full name Ultra Wide-Band, that is, Ultra Wide-Band, is a wireless carrier communication technology that uses nanosecond level non-sinusoidal narrow pulse to transmit data.The bandwidth of UWB is extremely wide, and it will not interfere with the narrowband and broadband work, which is equivalent to opening up a new wireless communication resource.

The main principle of UWB positioning technology is that it uses TOF (time-of-flight) ranging, which uses the time of flight of a signal between two transceivers to measure the distance between nodes. Through the indoor arrangement of several known coordinates of the positioning base station, the need to locate the person carrying the positioning tag, the tag according to a certain frequency emission pulse, constantly and several base stations for ranging, through a certain precise algorithm to determine the location of the tag. Principle schematic diagram is as follows:

In layman's terms, it means that the UWB chip is built into the device, and the user only needs to carry the positioning tag (e.g. mobile phone) to locate the product and achieve many functions.

UWB has a range of roles - ranging, positioning, identification, control, etc. This mode of interaction, which eliminates the need to open the mobile phone, select the app, select the product, and many other intermediate steps, is very convenient.The characteristics of UWB have made it possible to use it in the security field as well.At the end of 2022, Samsung and Zigbang teamed up to launcha smart door lock with an Ultra Wide Band (UWB) chip.The lock can sense the digital home key in the Samsung wallet on the mobile phone. Users do not need to enter a password on the door lock or open the mobile phone application, and when the mobile phone is close to the door lock, it will be automatically unlocked.

In addition to Samsung, there are a number of headline brands in the industry that are also exploring the application of UWB on door locks.

The past and present life of UWB

Currently more mainstream indoor positioning technology, mainly Bluetooth, WIFI, UWB, although born as early as the 1960s, but initially mainly used for radar, low interception rate / low detection rate of the military field, until about 2022, the U.S. Federal Communications Commissioner began to approve its entry into the civilian range.

Compared to Bluetooth and WIFI, UWB technology boasts high positioning accuracy, fast transmission speeds, long transmission distances, and simple systems. Even so, Bluetooth and WIFI are still the choice of most brands because of their long development time, low cost and other advantages. Therefore, the relationship between UWB and Bluetooth and WIFI may not be that of replacement, but coexistence.

Comparison between UWB and other wireless communication technologies

UWB's timestamp ranging principle makes it almost impossible for UWB to forge its own location by being intercepted and copied, so in recent years, it has been applied to many industries.

In the smart home sector, with the popularity of whole-house intelligence, precise positioning provides a much better experience and linkage capability, and the centimetre-level accuracy of UWB is much higher than that of Bluetooth and WiFi.

The second is the mobile phone and other consumer electronics field, Apple's iphone11, AirTag (anti-loss device), Airpods second generation headphones; the last is the automotive field, based on the UWB technology, can be remotely controlled auto-locking, auto-driving, engine start-stop, and positioning and so on; the security field, the POS terminals, smart door locks and so on.

▲Automotive digital key with UWB technology

▲Apple Airpods

According to the UWB function, the positioning function mainly involves tunnels, chemical plants, power plants, substations, public prosecutors and law enforcement, high-speed railway stations, airports, factories, warehousing and logistics, and so on. Unlocking is mainly used for automobiles, smart door locks, object labelling, and so on.

In terms of enterprises, the global and domestic UWB well-known programme vendors mainly include NXP, Decawave (Qooroo), Pozyx, Woxu, SnailTech, ANO TC, and Techtronics.


On 15 February 2023, a press conference of the Ministry of Construction of the People's Republic of China released data that the total number of completed housing units in China exceeded 600 million. From the figures, we can sense that the market demand is huge for indoor alone. Technology, compared with the current more popular Bluetooth, WIFI, UWB is also very advantageous; application, the current entry are more well-known domestic and foreign manufacturers, can feel that the prospects of UWB is very broad.

However, compared with foreign countries, the development of domestic UWB technology lags behind foreign countries, design, mature programme than the price is less, and consumer demand has not been completely released. However, from the point of view of the relevant products launched by domestic manufacturers, the experience of UWB products is relatively excellent. In the future, with the development of the Internet of Things, UWB will produce a deeper integration with the intelligent scene, the future is promising.