Thursday, June 8, 2006

IEEE Begins Work on Wireless, Long-Wavelength Standard (P1902.1)

The IEEE has begun work on a new standard, IEEE P1902.1, which will improve upon the visibility network protocol known as RuBee.

RuBee is a bidirectional, on-demand, peer-to-peer, radiating, transceiver protocol operating at wavelengths below 450 Khz. This protocol works in harsh environments with networks of many thousands of tags and has an area range of 10 to 50 feet. RuBee networks and tags are distinguished from most RFID tags in that they are unaffected by liquids and can be used underwater and underground. RuBee networks are already deployed in commercial applications, including: smart shelves for high-value medical devices in hospitals and operating rooms; smart, in-store and warehouse shelves for inventory tracking; and a variety of agricultural visibility networks for livestock, elk and other exotic animals.

The IEEE said one of the advantages of long-wavelength technology is that the radio tags can be low in cost, near credit card thin (1.5 mm), and fully programmable using 4 bit processors. Despite their high functionality, RuBee radio tags have a proven battery life of ten years or more using low-cost, coin-size lithium batteries. The RuBee protocol works with both active radio tags and passive tags that have no battery.

IEEE P1902.1 will offer a "real-time, tag searchable" protocol using IPv4 addresses and subnet addresses linked to asset taxonomies that run at speeds of 300 to 9,600 Baud. RuBee Visibility Networks are managed by a low-cost Ethernet enabled router. Individual tags and tag data may be viewed as a stand-alone, web server from anywhere in the world. Each RuBee tag, if properly enabled, can be discovered and monitored over the World Wide Web using search engines (e.g., Google) or via the Visible Asset's ".tag" Tag Name Server.

IEEE P1902.1 devices will be able to be used as implantable medical sensors having a 10-to-15-year battery life, depending on the number of reads and writes. The ability of RuBee tags to maintain performance around steel, so they work well when steel shelves are present, removes a key obstacle for low-cost deployment of RFID in retail, item-level tracking environments.

IEEE P1902.1 will be developed within the IEEE Corporate Standards Program. It is targeted for completion in late 2007.

The new IEEE P1902.1 standard will address physical and data-link layers based on the existing working RuBee protocol now in use. The new IEEE standard will support interoperation of RuBee tags, RuBee chips, RuBee network routers and other equipment now slated to be rolled out by several different manufacturers.

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