Country/region and language selection

Ultra Wideband / UWB

What is it exactly?  UWB (also called Ultra Wideband) is a digital wireless technology for close range. It is based on very high frequencies that provide spatial and directional data.  With UWB, objects can be located with an accuracy of up to 10 cm. This means that the robust wireless technology with its long range is optimally designed for the shop floor.

What are the origins of UWB?

The origins of UWB date back to the 1880s when Heinrich Hertz invented the spark-gap transmitter and Guglielmo Marconi improved it to send the first radio transmission across the Atlantic. The pulse-based broadband radio technology RADAR was used during World War II to determine the distance, angle and speed of objects. Seven decades later, UWB is providing location data for iPhone 11 users. But not only in consumer electronics: Recent market growth figures show a steep increase in the success of ultra wideband in Industry 4.0 applications as well. The technology is well on its way to becoming a global standard. In recent years, UWB has established itself as a key wireless technology for precise indoor positioning and location-based services in industrial environments.

UWB is specified according to the IEEE 802.15.4z standard and defines a comparatively wide frequency band compared to narrowband wireless. This means that UWB signals can be sent with very little energy and do not interfere with existing wireless systems - for them, UWB signals are lost in the noise.​

The very wide frequency band of UWB allows the transmission of very short signal pulses. This allows precise determination of the point in time when a UWB signal was sent or received. Based on the exact points in time or differences in time, highly precise localization can take place.​

What is the difference between narrowband, wideband, and ultra wideband?


Narrowband is a digital radio technology that transmits signals in a narrow band of frequencies. In narrowband communications, the signal bandwidth is far less than the coherent bandwidth of the channel. This means that the bandwidth of the signal does not significantly exceed the coherent bandwidth of the channel.

Wideband and ultra wideband

Wideband, on the other hand, refers to a wider frequency communication channel that uses a relatively large range of frequencies. The signal bandwidth greatly exceeds the coherent bandwidth of the channel. In ultra wideband technology, which transmits with a comparatively high bandwidth of at least 500 MHz, the duration  of the signal pulses is in the nanosecond range. Due to this high temporal resolution, the time of transmission can be precisely determined, enabling highly precise measurement of the pulse transit time. In addition, due to the short pulse duration, reflections from metallic objects have very little influence on the precision of the location. Thus, objects can be located with an accuracy of up to 10 cm.

Which measurement methods for localization are possible with omlox?

Downlink Time Difference of Arrival (DL-TDoA)

The downlink TDoA is suitable for an unlimited number of trackable devices. This tag-centric mode is similar to using GPS. Only downlink signals are sent from the satellites to the tags. Based on these signals and the known positions of several satellites, the tags calculate their position themselves.

Uplink Time Difference of Arrival (UL-TDoA)

In this mode, a  highly energy-efficient tag sends a signal to the surrounding satellites.  Since the satellites are synchronized, they can use the arrival time difference to calculate the tag's position.

Reconstructed Time of Flight (RToF)

This energy-optimized two-way ranging mode is based on a single handshake between a tag and a satellite, which is also received and processed by other surrounding satellites. Because the satellites are synchronized, they can calculate the transit time between all satellites.

What applications are possible with UWB?

Thanks to precise location data, high temporal resolution and robust signal transmission, UWB wireless technology has proven to be clearly superior to alternative location technologies for numerous applications in the manufacturing and logistics environment.

1. Asset Tracking

With Asset Tracking, users can track the utilization of machines/AGVs and access historic transport data and tracks. Users can thus increase productivity and improve capacity utilization.

2. Automated Booking

Using triggers and based on geofences, certain events such as automated booking can be activated. In this way, orders can be booked automatically as soon as they reach a corresponding zone or intralogistics employees are automatically prioritized.  This increases productivity while reducing waste, paving the way to a paperless factory.

3. Machine Navigation (AGV)

AGVs can increase and decrease speed based on the distances to employees, for example in order to ensure greater safety on the shop floor.

4. Human Navigation (VR)

Navigation using AR reduces the requirements for employees and makes it easier to find parts and items. The advantage: less training required for employees and a boost in productivity.

5. Automated Documentation

Automated Documentation makes it possible to automate inventory of equipment and machines. Time and location data of service missions as well as machine adjustments and updates are also documented.

6. Movement Analysis

View and analyze all movements on the shop floor. This increases transparency in your factory and allows you to identify optimization potential.

Get in touch with our experts!

Would you like to know more about how UWB can be used in manufacturing or logistics? Just reach out to us!

Get in touch now

White paper

PDF - 904 KB
White paper: Omlox
How omlox enables the interoperability of different devices in UWB-based real time location systems.

You may also find these topics interesting

Products for real-time locating

Coriva is the solution module for flexible and powerful RTLS solutions from TRUMPF. We also support our partners in developing their own solutions based on the world's first open location standard, omlox.

omlox - A milestone for companies on the road to Industry 4.0

Visit the website to learn all about omlox, the open and interoperable standard that is revolutionizing real-time location.

Transparency through real-time localization

TRUMPF offers omlox-compatible location solutions for the Smart Factory and many other sectors requiring transparency.

Vertrieb TRUMPF Tracking Technologies

Daniel Bossert
Chief Customer Officer, TRUMPF Tracking Technologies

Michael Zweifel
Partner management, TRUMPF Tracking Technologies
Service & contact