Opinion: A crack in Bluetooth

Network World |  Operating Systems

Another Bluetooth assumption is that wireless LANs would remain, well, LANs. Those things that are woven into the very fabric of a building -- networks that, in effect, take root. But if 802.11b components are on the same downward price/performance curve as Bluetooth components, it's pretty easy to see them appearing in unexpected ways, in unexpected places. Agere Systems, part of Lucent, claims to be now shipping about 300,000 IEEE 802.11b radios a month, and working tightly with telcos and carriers planning to deploy in 2002 a range of services based on them.

We may indeed eend up, one day, with lots of Bluetooth radios embedded in everything from handheld computers to espresso makers. But will they be used? Or will they become just the radio version of IrDA (you know: that little infrared gizmo on your laptop, the one you never use)? It may be that the enterprise will do its real work with 802.11b radios embedded almost as widely as Bluetooth, creating the network for grownups.

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