Did the NSA help kill UWB?

Revisionist history is looking back at past events in light of more recent information. What really happened? And no recent source of information has been more important when it comes to revising the history of digital communications than former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden. Today I’m really curious about the impact of the NSA on the troubled history of Ultra Wide Band (UWB) communication.

I stumbled on this topic with the help of a reader who pointed me at a story and then a paper about advances in secure communication. Scientists at the University of Massachusetts came up with a method of optical communication that they could mathematically prove to be immune to snooping or even detection up to a certain bit rate. To an eavesdropper who didn’t know what to listen for or when to listen for it the communication just looks like noise.

“Who knew that people were actually thinking about replacing IP communications?” asked my reader. “This paper is interesting in that point-to-point communications uses Layer-1 for the entire signal. I had been thinking Layer-2, but here is secure Layer-1 communications.”

But it looked a lot like Ultra Wide Band to me...


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