Bluetooth is almost here!

ITworld.com |  Networking

Are you tired of fussing with cables that connect your mouse, PalmPilot, keyboard,
headphones, and modem? I do most of my work on a laptop computer, and it's annoying to
reconnect cables as I move from airplanes to hotels and from home to office.

New products based on the de facto href="http://www.bluetooth.com/developer/specification/specification.asp">Bluetooth
standard will soon free us from cables through low-cost, short-range radio
transceivers.

Bluetooth provides:

  • 1 Mbps data rate.
  • Three voice channels.
  • Short range (30 feet) connectivity.
  • Low-cost OEM modules. At $20 now, costs will probably fall to $5 by 2001.
  • Small form factor. OEM modules measure 10.2 X 14 X 1.6 mm.
  • Encryption and authentication built into the specification.
  • Transmission in the 2.4 GHz radio frequency band using frequency hopping spread spectrum.
  • Automatic connection between Bluetooth devices within range.

Those features enable Bluetooth to provide a wireless personal area network.
Consider the following uses:

  • Wireless connections between a laptop, mobile telephone, and headset for
    integrating data and voice messaging.
  • Wireless computer peripherals, such as wireless mouse, keyboard, and telephone
    connection, making it easier to move and set up portable computers.
  • Wireless Webcams, enabling you to place cameras anywhere within a room.
  • Wireless handheld bar code scanners.
  • Portable computers that can wirelessly connect to your desktop computer to
    synchronize schedules, documents, and to do lists.
  • Wireless connections between your computer and printer.

While all that sounds exciting, don't expect to purchase Bluetooth consumer products
today or within the next few months. Initial products with Bluetooth transceivers
should become available toward the end of 2000, and a barrage of Bluetooth products
should hit the market throughout 2001.

Companies are going through the product certification process. First, they must
submit products for approval from the href="http://www.bluetooth.com/sig/sig/sig.asp">Bluetooth Special Interest Group,
which publishes the standard. They must then receive regulatory approval to sell a
product.

The Bluetooth SIG includes 3Com, Ericsson, IBM, Intel, Lucent, Microsoft, Motorola,
Nokia, and Toshiba. Thousands of other companies plan to adopt Bluetooth into their
product lines.

The Bluetooth SIG published href="http://www.bluetooth.com/developer/specification/specification.asp">Version 1.0
of the specification in mid-1999. In late 2000 or early 2001, the SIG will release
Version 2.0, which includes more usage profiles and better performance.

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