MANHASSET, N.Y. The Intel, Texas Instruments-led Multiband-OFDM Alliance failed to confirm this week a specification of the physical layer for the air-interface standard being readied by the IEEE 802.15.3a working group.
In a rapid-fire sequence of events, the failure set the stage for what many believe will be the final showdown in November of an intense and well-publicized battle between the MBOA on one side, and Xtremespectrum, Motorola and ParthusCeva now joined by Oki Semiconductor and CRL on the other.
After presenting eight hours worth of material, the MBOA proposal underwent a confirmation vote, which gave it a 59- to 41-percent majority, but failed to reach the magic 75 percent majority needed to actually confirm under strict IEEE rules.
According to sources directly involved in the vote, the process then reset to consider three proposals: MBOA; Xtremespectrum/Motorola/ParthusCeva with its direct-sequence CDMA proposal; and one from Oki Semiconductor. Oki then merged with CRL and in the first down-selection vote on Wednesday, the Oki/CRL proposal was voted out. After the results of that vote came out on Thursday, Oki/CRL then merged with the XSI/Motorola/ParthusCeva alliance and a motion was passed to postpone the down-selection process until November in Albuquerque, NM.
The result comes as a disappointment to MBOA members, who believed they were in a position of strength after the last meeting in July in which MBOA rose to the fore as the proposal of choice. In addition, some members of the group had taken pains last week to prove they were compliant with the FCC spectral mask.
But there's still an upside to the vote, according to Roberto Aiello, president and founder of MBOA member Staccato Communications Inc. (San Diego, Calif.), "The positive outcome of this meeting is that more MBOA members join every month and that every company has committed technical resources to promote the MBOA solution," he said.
"It was a hard meeting," said John Barr, a member of the IEEE 802.15 Working Group, "but the task group was left with a situation that will allow the right decision to be made in Albuquerque. The proposals are very close based on the evaluation criteria and the final evaluation should clarify any outstanding concerns to allow the final consensus to be reached."
Between now and Albuquerque, said Barr, all of the proposers involved with the remaining two proposals (MB-OFDM and DS-CDMA) will work on getting ready for the final determination of which one to adopt. All, he said, have indicated that they will work together on common evaluation methods so that the task group gets evaluation results that can be readily compared. "The proposers will also address the suggestion from the FCC to ensure that what the IEEE selects does not cause any more interference than anticipated during the original rule making process," said Barr.
This comes in response to a letter last week from Julius Knapp, director of the FCC's Office of Engineering, asking for such assurance.
Barr said the process will most likely be completed in Albuquerque "and the task group will be able to immediately begin the drafting process."