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Will 802.11 Kill Bluetooth?

Hemos posted more than 12 years ago | from the battle-of-the-wireless dept.

Technology 228

joshwa writes "NYTimes (free reg. required) has an article about the struggles of the Bluetooth folks to fine-tune their technology and get the costs down far enough. The most interesting part is that analysts seem to think that 802.11's (what is this new 'Wi-Fi' moniker?) growing popularity will overshadow Bluetooth's entrance into the marketplace, and will beat Bluetooth into the small devices market. Can 802.11 actually work in a Palm or a cell phone?" The article, IMHO, misses the difference in uses - if you've got a small device that you want to conserve power on, and only communicate small distances, Bluetooth's ideal. If you've got a lot of power, a la a notebook computer, and want to communicate 150 ft., then 802.11 is what you want. Imagine that: Different uses! Different standards! Amazing!

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Nope (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2197230)

Toast [drtoast.com] will kill bluetooth.

1st

Can't kill what was never alive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2197238)

Bluetooth was grounded before take-off. If wireless ethernet takes off, it has nothing to do with Bluetooth, one way or another.

Someone forgot to watch the Evil Dead (3, Funny)

sllort (442574) | more than 12 years ago | (#2197244)

Watch Evil Dead.

You can't kill something if it's already dead.

Re:Someone forgot to watch the Evil Dead (2)

imipak (254310) | more than 12 years ago | (#2197345)

Evil Dead? evil SCHMED! This line is from Judge Death, Dredd's enemy from the Deadworld, in 2000AD! (no, they didn't pull him into the movie... shame!) Here he is. eeek!! [fortunecity.com] . And the line is: "You cannot kill that which does not live!" **PHEAR**!!

It's not dead... (2, Funny)

jmcneill (256391) | more than 12 years ago | (#2197416)

It's not dead, it's pining... for the fjords...

Re:Someone forgot to watch the Evil Dead (1)

Neorej (398404) | more than 12 years ago | (#2197478)

Deadites mostly played dead. I suspect Bluetooth doesn't.

Ash's comment: "It's a trick, get an axe!" might help out here too though :-)

Sure it will (5, Insightful)

baptiste (256004) | more than 12 years ago | (#2197245)

Bluetooth doesn't stand a chance. Why? Because it interferes with 802.11 802.11 throughput drops like a stone when a Bluetooth piconet is active. Many corporations have banned Bluetooth devices (before they were even available) to avoid this.

There are ways around it - by having APs that can handle both protocols and thus can deal with both protocols being active at once. But given teh amount of 802.11 equipment out there already, I expect many places will resist Bluetooth devices since they don't want to have to buy new APs. Thus Bluetooth will have a tough time gaining ground.

I think its a neat idea, but heck - USB was supposed to reduce the rats nest around my PC too and hasn't so far - I'm still waiting for monitors with USB ports that your keyboard and mouse connect to - I knwo they exist, but its not widely done (nor are keyboards and mice over USB)

Re:Sure it will (3, Interesting)

Brento (26177) | more than 12 years ago | (#2197309)

I think its a neat idea, but heck - USB was supposed to reduce the rats nest around my PC too and hasn't so far - I'm still waiting for monitors with USB ports that your keyboard and mouse connect to - I knwo they exist, but its not widely done (nor are keyboards and mice over USB)

Your wait will be even longer: Bluetooth is supposed to do *exactly the same thing*! One of Bluetooth's purposes is wireless mice/keyboards that work with each other, unlike the proprietary standards of today. If you think the wait for monitors with USB hubs was long, wait until you see the wait for monitors with Bluetooth receivers. The monitor industry's already been burned by this once with USB, they won't be so quick to jump on the bandwagon with yet another standard that doesn't really add value to the monitor.

Re:Sure it will (3, Interesting)

1010011010 (53039) | more than 12 years ago | (#2197531)

Maybe someone will come out with "wireless usb" to confuse things further...

Re:Sure it will (1)

modecx (130548) | more than 12 years ago | (#2197331)

I think its a neat idea, but heck - USB was supposed to reduce the rats nest around my PC too and hasn't so far - I'm still waiting for monitors with USB ports that your keyboard and mouse connect to - I knwo they exist, but its not widely done (nor are keyboards and mice over USB)

When I was shopping for monitors recently, I found the converse to be true, most monitors at consumer level do have USB. Only when you look at the more professional variety of monitors (presumably for artists, CAD types) does the USB support lack.

I agree on the keyboard issue, Iv'e not seen many USB only keyboards outside of the Apple realm, but many keyboards do have a built in USB hub (a la Microsoft ergo line), but still interface over the standard PS/2 interface. On mice, however, there are many many mice that have USB support, with great variety; I'm particullarly fond of my Logitech Optical mouse.

Re:Sure it will (1)

mal3 (59208) | more than 12 years ago | (#2197489)

Also the 24" Sony GDM-FW900 Monitor has a USB Hub built into the bottom of it. I'm not sure if it qualifies as 'professional' or not but I can't afford it.

--Mal

Re:Sure it will (1)

modecx (130548) | more than 12 years ago | (#2197533)

Hrmmm....24" *drewl*
Too bad that it probably sterilizes it's users, and either allows one to get bulk energy discounts from the California Energy Commission, or makes Govner' Gray Davis beg you to use it only on colder days...

Re:Sure it will (2)

Enry (630) | more than 12 years ago | (#2197397)


Because it interferes with 802.11 802.11 throughput drops like a stone when a Bluetooth piconet is active.


Isn't that why 802.11 and Bluetooth both do frequency hopping? So they can avoid running into each other? The really bad 2.4Ghz devices are those that don't frequency hop, like the x10 wireless cameras and wireless phones. They just blast all over the spectrum.

BTW, I've got a keyboard, mouse, two MP3 players, and a TV tuner (watiing for Linux support here..) that all go through one USB cable into my PC. I'd have the printer too, but RH 7.1 has a few problems with it still (like recognizing it, but not accepting any data).

Re:Sure it will (4, Informative)

kaisyain (15013) | more than 12 years ago | (#2197479)

802.11b doesn't do frequency hopping, it does direct sequence. That's why Bluetooth interferes with 802.11b but not vice versa. Bluetooth hops on and off the 802.11b spectrum and only suffers minimal packet loss. However, if the Bluetooth signal is strong enough it can cause the 802.11b link to drop completely.

I'm not sure what the original poster meant about access points understanding both protocols. Last I heard the two ideas under discussion were to modify Bluetooth's hopping protocol and/or regulating Bluetooth signal strength. Both of those are Bluetooth changes and have nothing to do with access points "understanding" both protocols.

Re:Sure it will (1, Offtopic)

egreB (183751) | more than 12 years ago | (#2197443)

> USB was supposed to reduce the rats nest around my PC too and hasn't so far - I'm still waiting for monitors with USB ports that your keyboard and mouse connect to - I knwo they exist, but its not widely done (nor are keyboards and mice over USB)

Haven't you ever used a Macintosh? My 7 years old 60MHz Apple PowerMac 6100 (still going strong) has one cable to it's screen, the keyboard connected to the screen, and the mouse to the keyboard. The screen also has connectors for speakers/headphones and microphone. WITHOUT USB.. Tada! (-8

Re:Sure it will (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2197469)

Really? You must have old equipment then. I've got one USB cable coming out of my computer to a powered hub that my scanner and Epson 1280 and another USB hub hang off of. My keyboard, Palm pilot, compactflash reader, etc. are plugged into the other hub. Then my mouse is plugged into one of the two USB ports on my keyboard. It's not even a Mac. Works fine under Win2k. Nothing magical about it and I don't have all the clutter to worry about (other than having a lot of devices. :-)

Re:Did they ban cordless phones too? (2, Interesting)

swordboy (472941) | more than 12 years ago | (#2197501)

My cordless phone drops the 802.11b connection to a bare minimum if it doesn't block it altogether. I once tried to set up a WiFi network at a customer's house and after trying several pieces of equipment, we finally figured out that it was the neighbors cordless phone causing the WLAN to go down every few minutes.

With the 802.11x security problems that have been exposed recently, I'd say that we need a new wireless standard altogether. One that is all-encompassing. Low power/bandwidth for those portables and more bandwidth for the other devices.

Re:Did they ban cordless phones too? (2)

baptiste (256004) | more than 12 years ago | (#2197536)

I'd say that we need a new wireless standard altogether.

Well, the problem isn't really 802.11 (in terms of the cordless problem) Its the fact that 802.11 uses a public band which means other stuff can use it too (and interfere with it) But if you move wireless LAns into a non public radio band, the cost goes way up as now you have to deal with the FCC and licenses. Honestly I have no idea why they even make 2.4GHz cordless phones - I mean do you REALLY need your cordless to work a mile from your home (hint - it's called cellular - get one :) ) So the bottom line is if you want inexpensive wireless gear, its gonna use a public spectrum slice and you're always going to have to deal with other devices in it.

I think folk shave been giving 802.11 a bad rap. it does a very good job. Sure WEP can be broken, but that can be fixed. I love my wireless gear and have no complaints so far! Considering you can get APs < $200 and PCMCIA cards < $99, thats pretty good! Throw in a fix for WEP and I honestly coudl care less if 802.11 kills Bluetooth :)

Re:Did they ban cordless phones too? (2)

juuri (7678) | more than 12 years ago | (#2197642)

This is easy to fix. Simply change the channel that your wireless HUB is on and the devices will find it. I find that that channels 2, 6 and 10 tend to be the ones most free of trouble from 2.4Ghz phones. The default channel (11) on many wireless hubs is just an awful choice.

Exsqueeze me? (2)

tswinzig (210999) | more than 12 years ago | (#2197588)

heck - USB was supposed to reduce the rats nest around my PC too and hasn't so far

Ummm, no it wasn't! How exactly would USB reduce the rats nest (i.e. lots of wires) around your PC, when it, too, uses wires?

USB was designed to provide faster data throughput than serial/parallel cables, hot-plug&play, and the ability to use a huge # of devices... all for a relatively low cost.

It was NOT designed to reduce the # of wires around your computer system. That's what Bluetooth is for.

Re:Exsqueeze me? (2)

baptiste (256004) | more than 12 years ago | (#2197622)

Ummm, no it wasn't! How exactly would USB reduce the rats nest (i.e. lots of wires) around your PC, when it, too, uses wires?

Um, I didn't say eliminate, I said reduce. The idea was, instead of having wires all over for the peripherals, you'd daisy chain them. One USB cable to your monitor with built in USB hub, with the keyboard and mouse plugged into that. Things like scanners, cameras, etc would plug into your monitor or a desktop hub, etc. This way you didn't have to home run every single freaking wire back to the beige box like you do now. Also, since USB can provide limited power, some devices could lose their wall wart power supplies and leech off the USB power bus. No more 25 conductor serial or SCSI cables, - instead a nice flexiable and thin USB cable.

So yes, one of the advantages of USB was to reduce the tangle/rats nest of wires - in theory there should have only been 2 wires going from your desk surface to the box on the floor with everything else plugging into the hub which might even be in your monitor, etc. I look at my desktop now and there are 9 wires plugged into the back excluding power. These 9 could easily be gone - instead plugged into a more localized USB hub on my desk or into other USB devices (USB frmo PC to monitor. Keyboard, scanner, printer plugged into monitor hub, mouse plugged into keyboard with small hub in it, etc.) To me reducing my PC wire count by 8 would be huge.

Hard to tell right now (4, Informative)

sticks_us (150624) | more than 12 years ago | (#2197249)

I work in the wireless industry myself, and can say that there is quite a bit of debate over this.

What will probably happen (as seems to happen a lot) is that one major vendor or provider will choose a certain standard, regardless of its value, or without a thought as to whether or not two technologies can be mutually compatible (as the writer above mentions). Then its time to push it down everyone's throats until the other one disappears.

Sad, but true.

Re:Hard to tell right now (1)

emoeric (470708) | more than 12 years ago | (#2197267)

IBM uses 802.11 in their pervasive computing stuff (smarter appliances). Very cool stuff, and i have to agree with the previous post that you can't kill something (bluetooth) that's already dead.

Can Linux beat AIX (0, Offtopic)

DzugZug (52149) | more than 12 years ago | (#2197250)

Why doesn't "Big Blue" GPL some of the AIX code and incorporate it into Linux if they are so behind it? That would prove their dedication and help make Linux the platform IBM says they want it to be.

If you want 802.11b in your hand... (4, Informative)

General_Corto (152906) | more than 12 years ago | (#2197252)

... then all you have to do is own a Handspring. There is a module to do that from Xircom (Intel) [handspring.com]

Re:If you want 802.11b in your hand... (3, Informative)

_xeno_ (155264) | more than 12 years ago | (#2197391)

And if you wanna do it on your iPaq [compaq.com] , you can look at the list of supported cards here [compaq.com] , or try the list of Compaq cards [compaq.com] . Since the iPaq expansion port is basically a PCMCIA, Linux on the iPaq's gotta be able to do something with wireless LAN as well.


(I haven't tried it yet, but the WL110 [compaq.com] looks to be the best solution for 802.11. I plan on getting it to work with my schools wireless LAN - I've tried, and Pocket Internet Explorer is capable of rendering Slashdot natively - dunno about Linux solutions, my serial port is toast so I can't put Linux on the iPaq - yet. (And no, the iPaq didn't fry it - my UPS did, AFAIK :)))

Re:If you want 802.11b in your hand... (1)

InfoVore (98438) | more than 12 years ago | (#2197403)

I would love to buy this module. I have both an Apple Airport base-station and a Handspring Visor. Why I won't buy it: $299 + tax + shipping. This thing costs as much as my Visor and more than my Airport. When it hits $150 or lower, call me.

Until then, I will just get by with irregular syncing.

IV

Re:If you want 802.11b in your hand... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2197465)


$245 + shipping from outpost...

Re:If you want 802.11b in your hand... (5, Informative)

Snocone (158524) | more than 12 years ago | (#2197496)

I would love to buy this module.

No you wouldn't.

I have both an Apple Airport base-station and a Handspring Visor.

So do I...

Why I won't buy it: $299 + tax + shipping.

Why you SHOULDN'T buy it:

It's not WiFi compliant, which means IT DOESN'T WORK WITH AIRPORT. It will only work with the Xircom access point. (Standards? What standards?)

But wait! It gets better! After biting my tongue on many bad words and buying the @#($&@!! Xircom Special Super Secret 802.11 Version access point, you know what we found? There's a bug in the Ethernet->PPP translation layer THAT THROTTLES THE CONNECTION TO SERIAL SPEED. Palm acknowledges it but has no plans to fix it.

As a matter of fact, names removed to protect the guilty, here's what Palm had to say about it EXACTLY:

...I'm not sure you're gonna get a super-high bandwidth connection on today's PalmOS. Maybe the symbol device would be good--I think that they take the PPP overhead out, since I think they have a real ethernet driver...

So, at this moment, the Quest For Handheld Bandwidth here is hoping that the new Xircom m505 cradle, which IS alleged to be WiFi compliant, will magically give us a video strength connection without changing anything.

If not, well, off to worship at the altar of the Beast from Red Mound we go, I suppose. An @migo PD-600C is on its way here too...

802.11 for Palm? (1)

ralmeida (106461) | more than 12 years ago | (#2197260)

Does somebody know if there is a 802.11 card form Palm? I've seen one for the Visor once, but I have a m100.

Re:802.11 for Palm? (1)

Stunky (323500) | more than 12 years ago | (#2197277)

You can't put an extansion card into a m100 anyway!!!!

What if.. (3, Funny)

alexjohns (53323) | more than 12 years ago | (#2197266)

if you've got a small device that you want to conserve power on, and only communicate small distances, Bluetooth's ideal. If you've got a lot of power, a la a notebook computer, and want to communicate 150 ft., then 802.11 is what you want. Imagine that: Different uses! Different standards! Amazing!
Which one do I use if I have a medium sized device with a middlin' amount of power and want to communicate a moderate distance. Do I need both?

Re:What if.. (4, Insightful)

Brento (26177) | more than 12 years ago | (#2197322)

Which one do I use if I have a medium sized device with a middlin' amount of power and want to communicate a moderate distance. Do I need both?

It gets worse. Even if you have a high-powered device like a laptop, the industry expects you to have both. You'll need Bluetooth to talk to your cell phone and PDA, and 802.11 to talk to your wireless lan. Forget that! Laptops are pricey enough as it is.

Re:What if.. (1)

kurowski (11243) | more than 12 years ago | (#2197621)

It gets worse. Even if you have a high-powered device like a laptop, the industry expects you to have both. You'll need Bluetooth to talk to your cell phone and PDA, and 802.11 to talk to your wireless lan. Forget that! Laptops are pricey enough as it is.
It gets worse. Even if you have a high-powered device like a desktop, the industry expects you to have both. You'll need a floppy disk drive to talk to share files with your coworkers, and a CD-ROM to install software from. Forget that! Desktops are pricey enough as it is.

Good Summary (-1, Troll)

Wind_Walker (83965) | more than 12 years ago | (#2197269)

For those of us who really don't know a whole helluva lot about the two technologies (I know that I don't) there's a good article about it over on Network World Fusion [nwfusion.com] . The article is here [nwfusion.com] .

It concludes that Bluetooth has the edge currently, but it's still way too early in the ballgame to know for sure.

Unfortunate to see Bluetooth struggling (2)

coupland (160334) | more than 12 years ago | (#2197273)

It's too bad to see Bluetooth struggling to get out of the gates as I think the concept is right on the money. Imagine the ability to have your palm synchronize simply by entering the same room as your PC. Or your notebook to hop onto the LAN automatically when you enter your office. Or seamlessly having all the devices in your home networked without cables? A Bluetooth-enabled thermostat or burglar alarm could be configured easily from your PC without any wires. You could set your VCR to record "Seinfeld" from your desktop or (even better) from work using a browser. All without a single wire! I think there's a huge market for this type of technology, I hope Bluetooth can be rescued!

Re:Unfortunate to see Bluetooth struggling (2)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 12 years ago | (#2197296)

I'm missing the reason you can't do all that with 802.11

Also, with the short range limits on Bluetooth, you better have a pretty small house if you want to do all of that stuff.

Re:Unfortunate to see Bluetooth struggling (2)

Chanc_Gorkon (94133) | more than 12 years ago | (#2197431)

You Said:

It's too bad to see Bluetooth struggling to get out of the gates as I think the concept is right on the money. Imagine the ability to have your palm synchronize simply by entering the same room as your PC. Or your notebook to hop onto the LAN automatically when you enter your office. Or seamlessly having all the devices in your home networked without cables? A Bluetooth-enabled thermostat or burglar alarm could be configured easily from your PC without any wires. You could set your VCR to record "Seinfeld" from your desktop or (even better) from work using a browser. All without a single wire! I think there's a huge market for this type of technology, I hope Bluetooth can be rescued!

All of what you said CAN be done with 802.11b there just needs to be programs written to do it. Bluetooth is nice, but the range of 802.11b has it beat. It would be nice if you can adjust the power level on the 802.11b access point so that the range could be controlled better (Set it up to only cover 20 feet instead of the default and it would be exactly like bluetooth).

Yup, and here's why.. (4, Interesting)

Bowie J. Poag (16898) | more than 12 years ago | (#2197276)



Somebody turned me onto this page [personaltelco.net] that talks about how a group of guys are making a mission out of setting up localized, free wireless access to the Internet, with the ultimate goal being able to fire up your laptop anywhere within your city and get on the net for free. All it takes is a couple hundred dollars (which isnt much when shared between 20 people who pitch in, initially) and a guy who controls anything as meager as a DSL line willing to "donate" some of his bandwidth to the antenna.

If anything, stuff like this will kill Bluetooth from a purely VHS vs. Beta sort of way. When it comes down to a fight between popular acceptance versus quality of technology, popular acceptance always wins.

Cheers,

Re:Yup, and here's why.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2197476)

You seem to miss the point that Bluetooth is NOT a replacement or even competitor to wireless ethernet. It is a wire replacement good for only a few feet. This means printer cables, usb cables, joystick cables, keyboard cables, mouse cables, phone cables. Not ethernet cables.

Now it may die for other reasons but this misinformation that people are getting doesn't help.

Re:Yup, and here's why.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2197515)

Man, I could sure go for some warm orange pie. Oh wait, that would require comparing... well you know.

Would you really want to have to set up a TCP/IP network between your DVD remote control and your DVD player? Would you really want a wireless network with only 1 Mbit of bandwidth? To quote CmdrTaco "Imagine that: Different uses! Different standards! Amazing!"

Check this site out [howstuffworks.com] .

Re:Yup, and here's why.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2197526)

I agree, I have been following the two technologies for a while and the fact that anyone can easily set-up a Wireless 802.11 network at home today without investing a bundle in proprietary, expensive, hard to get hardware is quite revealing as to who will gain critical market share the first.

Also I have yet to see a single Bluetooth enabled device available at the local shops...

Bye Bye Blues.

Cheers,

BLKBRD

Re:Yup, and here's why.. (3, Interesting)

tswinzig (210999) | more than 12 years ago | (#2197594)

Somebody turned me onto this page [personaltelco.net] that talks about how a group of guys are making a mission out of setting up localized, free wireless access to the Internet, with the ultimate goal being able to fire up your laptop anywhere within your city and get on the net for free.

Jeezus how did this post get rated +4???

Bluetooth is not designed nor intended to do what you're describing. That is what 802.11 is for! This will not kill Bluetooth. Bluetooth is like USB without the cables. It's for short-distance, low-power communication. That's IT!

In related news... (2)

jbrw (520) | more than 12 years ago | (#2197278)

ntl (UK) has just announced a trial of a wireless (10Ghz) broadband offering in London.

Detail over yonder [free2air.org] .

mirror mirror on the wall (1)

gavlil (255585) | more than 12 years ago | (#2197280)

Bluetooth Wireless Stumbles at the Starting Gate

By CHRIS GAITHER

ounging in bed on a recent Saturday morning, David Bolan, an executive with a Silicon Valley startup, lifted his thumb from the remote control and caught his first glimpse of his livelihood on the screen.

There, a reseller was hawking 6,000 I.B.M. (news/quote) notebook computers left over from a crashed-and-burned company. The flameout must have been recent; the machines featured a new wireless technology called Bluetooth, for which Mr. Bolan's company, Pico Communications of Cupertino, Calif., designed networking products. Although the program conveyed a grim message about the high-technology meltdown, Mr. Bolan was thrilled when the announcer proclaimed Bluetooth the coming wave of unplugged communications.

"This is awesome," Mr. Bolan, vice president for business development at Pico, recalled thinking. "The consumer is finally starting to be educated about Bluetooth."

Last year was supposed to be the breakout year for Bluetooth technology, which carries information on radio waves among mobile phones, personal computers and other devices equipped with a Bluetooth chip. A fleet of products -- from cordless phone headsets to PC adapter kits -- were to have begun their cascade into the American market.

The vision was alluring: cell phones and computers could synchronize their contact lists as soon as they were within 30 feet, hand-held computers could send documents through the air to a nearby printer, and laptops could surf the Web using a phone's cellular network. In several years, supporters argued, every electronic device or appliance -- from computers to microwave ovens -- would use a Bluetooth chip to talk automatically with other devices.

Bluetooth supporters said chips would soon cost less than $5 and run on little power, allowing device makers to build the chips into each cell phone or hand-held device without worrying about battery drain. Encouraged by some of the world's largest electronics manufacturers, analysts estimated that nearly 1.5 billion Bluetooth-ready devices would be sold by 2005, creating vast communications networks between devices and appliances.

But the cascade turned out to be a trickle -- Bluetooth was still not ready for mass production. Chip costs remained high, and devices sometimes refused to talk to each other. A handful of products began appearing on the market last September, but in small numbers and at high prices. These were normal growing pains for a young technology, but two years of boasting brought publicity to its troubles.

Industry leaders say that with a new set of technical specifications and a more stable platform, Bluetooth is finally ready to pick up speed later this year, and take off in 2002. Motorola (news/quote), Ericsson (news/quote), 3Com (news/quote), Compaq, Toshiba (news/quote) and others have early Bluetooth products, including phone and PC adapters, on the market, with plans to increase distribution later this year, and Palm will offer a Bluetooth expansion card for its m500 series of hand-helds units by the end of the year.

"We are going to drive it to become ubiquitous," said Michael Mace, chief competitive officer and vice president for product planning for Palm, which wants to enable its devices to communicate wirelessly with PC's, phones and other machines.

But while engineers fine-tune Bluetooth and major manufacturers declare its rise is imminent, troubles have emerged. First, with the souring of the economy, corporations -- usually the first to adopt new technologies -- have cut budgets. Second, sales of handhelds and cellular phones, expected to be market drivers for Bluetooth, have plunged. And last, another wireless technology, originally expected to complement Bluetooth, came in and stole much of its thunder.

The other wireless networking standard, called IEEE 802.11b, or Wi-Fi, has picked up strong momentum among information technology managers and technology savvy consumers. Wi-Fi networks allow computer users to connect to the Internet wirelessly from Starbucks (news/quote) coffee bars, as well as from some shops, airport and hotel lounges and corporate offices and college campuses.

Supporters of both technologies say there is room for both in the marketplace. But if Wi-Fi succeeds in adopting Bluetooth's most attractive attributes -- low power consumption and cost -- it could be used in a wide range of small devices, which could then use the Internet to communicate with each other. This script, some observers predict, could render Bluetooth a well-planned, heavily financed failure.

The development of Bluetooth goes back to 1994, when researchers in Ericsson's labs began work on a way to make hands-free cell phone calls without using cables. They found their solution in radio waves. Unlike infrared, which enlivens television remote controls and allows users of hand-held computers to beam their business cards to one another, radio waves can travel through walls and in many directions at once, up to about 30 feet. They used little power -- a crucial feature for devices that run on batteries. And, at least in theory, the radio chips could be made small and inexpensive, so they could be built into every phone.

In 1998, Ericsson assembled a special-interest group to begin developing this technology for the general market. The first members were the cell phone maker Nokia (news/quote), the computer manufacturers I.B.M. and Toshiba, and the chip maker Intel (news/quote). Jim Kardach, an Intel technician and amateur historian, dubbed the wireless standard "Bluetooth," after Harald Bluetooth, a Scandinavian king who unified Denmark and Norway in the 10th century. The imagery was simple: the technology would bring together devices just like King Bluetooth linked the two countries.

Joined by other technology leaders like Microsoft (news/quote), Compaq Computer (news/quote) and Lucent Technologies (news/quote), the Bluetooth Special Interest Group -- which now numbers 2,500 companies -- began suggesting that Bluetooth was the wireless technology that futurists awaited. In the beginning, they envisioned Bluetooth replacing cables to carry information not just within, but between devices, creating so-called personal-area networks unencumbered by wires.

In this Bluetooth-enabled future, proponents say, travelers will walk into airports and be instantly recognized by their devices. The airline's computer system will send, via radio waves, the passenger's boarding pass, departure gate and flight status directly to the handheld or cell phone. On the road, a car with a broken fan belt can diagnose its troubles and contact a repairman through the network.

"We're banking on the consumer marketplace to win with Bluetooth," said Francis Dance, telematics services project manager for BMW of North America.

For that to happen, Bluetooth chips need others to talk with. But the price of chip sets has not declined nearly as fast as expected. Mr. Mace, the Palm executive, said his company will begin placing a Bluetooth chip set inside every handheld when chip sets costs less than $10, about half their price today. In the meantime, Palm and other manufacturers are relying on kits that add Bluetooth to existing devices. The kits can cost $200 per device, an expensive price to eliminate cables.

802.11 adapters shrinking w/ the silicon... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2197282)


A little know fact is that you can vary the power on 802.11 adapters/accesspoints to acheive much of the "short range" capabilities of bluetooth.

A review of the xircom 802.11 springboard module.

http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/a/wireless/2001/06 /0 8/xircom_review.html

--iamnotayam

Bluetooth vs. Wi-fi is too broad... (1)

jerkychew (80913) | more than 12 years ago | (#2197283)

Comparing Bluetooth to Wi-Fi is a little unfair. Bluetooth is meant to go small distances, not the ~100 feet Wi-Fi is capable of. It's better to compare Bluetooth to infrared - both are intended for short distances, and less permanent data sharing. Infrared is so rarely used that most people forget it's even there, but it would be nice if Bluetooth could change that.

cost (2)

SirSlud (67381) | more than 12 years ago | (#2197285)

Losing the wires is definately nice, but since 802.11b is more geared towards wireless networking outside of the home, it will probably saturate the market first - through stores a la Starbucks and corperations picking up the technology. Only once people see it at work/play will they buy into the technology at home. If bluetooth is cost/tech ready by that point, it will probably have its own successful coming out party .. but I definately agree .. two fundamental uses; I'd be suspicious I wasn't getting the most cost-effective solution if 802.11b was used in place of bluetooth in short-range wireless communication.

Low-power mode. (1)

hotsauce (514237) | more than 12 years ago | (#2197288)

if you've got a small device that you want to conserve power on, and only communicate small distances, Bluetooth's ideal. If you've got a lot of power, a la a notebook computer, and want to communicate 150 ft., then 802.11 is what you want. Imagine that: Different uses! Different standards! Amazing!

Or 802.11 could add a low-power mode.

Re:Low-power mode. (1)

Conspiracy Theorist (250373) | more than 12 years ago | (#2197414)

Actually there already is. It's just not used that often because it introduces latency that is noticable to most laptop users while the amount of power saved is not.

Why so much fuss about wireless access ? (0, Offtopic)

Flabdabb Hubbard (264583) | more than 12 years ago | (#2197289)

I mean, does anyone _really_ need wireless, or is it just that geeks will do anything to complicate matters, so that ordinary folks never get a chance to catch up ?


Whenever I speak to anyone in the IT industry, they always try and confuse me with technological terms like 802.11b and 'bluetooth'. Did consumers ask for wireless access ? Is there ANY evidence at all that this is a good thing ? What about the dangerous levels of radiation that are involved with high frequency data transmission ?

Re:Why so much fuss about wireless access ? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2197373)

Surprisingly enough, I asked the developers of wireless and they said it was only developed to piss you off. Looks like their mission is accomplished.

Bluetooth will fail just like infrared did (4, Insightful)

Brento (26177) | more than 12 years ago | (#2197295)

The article, IMHO, misses the difference in uses - if you've got a small device that you want to conserve power on, and only communicate small distances, Bluetooth's ideal.

This sounds like the same arguments people were using for infrared ports a few years back, and that caught on like sandpaper pantyhose.

Bluetooth devices are failing for the same reasons infrared ports don't get used: they're just not that useful. Sure, when I want to print, it's awesome to be able to hold my PDA or laptop up to an HP printer and just fire away - but I have to hold it just so to maintain connectivity.

Bluetooth is the same way - you have to be so close that it's not really useful for much other than wireless keyboards and headphones. Don't even get me started about Bluetooth connections between a cell phone and a PDA: why shouldn't I just get out the cable and save even more battery power? No sense in burning extra power just to have the convenience of leaving my cell phone in my holster.

Am I wrong? Is there anything here that infrared didn't try to solve? Is there something that you would actually pay an extra $30 to add to your small battery-operated device, something that you wouldn't just use a cable or infrared for?

Re:Bluetooth will fail just like infrared did (2, Insightful)

sstammer (235235) | more than 12 years ago | (#2197468)

IR failed because it is essentially need line-of-sight - you need to physically arrange the source and destination so that they can see eachother. That's the reason that it failed - it required too much labour. RF technologies like Bluetooth and 802.11 don't have that limitation.


Bluetooth is the same way - you have to be so close that it's not really useful


10 metres is too close to be useful?!



Tim

Re:Bluetooth will fail just like infrared did (3, Funny)

GordonMcGregor (27949) | more than 12 years ago | (#2197511)

Bluetooth doesn't need line of sight. The main failing with irDA is that it needs line of sight to be maintained between communicating devices. Bluetooth can talk to devices within your snazzy Dockers 'mobile pants' while happily irradiating your groin.

Re:Bluetooth will fail just like infrared did (1)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 12 years ago | (#2197625)

Is there something that you would actually pay an extra $30 to add to your small battery-operated device, something that you wouldn't just use a cable or infrared for?

Well, in Physics Class, if you wanted to d/l a game for your HP calculator that your classmate is playing, but don't want the prof to know, IR is the way to go. If he saw you connecting via a wire, you were toast....

But seriously, when you want to be non-suspicious looking... maybe in spy tech or something??

Re:Bluetooth will fail just like infrared did (3, Insightful)

tswinzig (210999) | more than 12 years ago | (#2197647)

Yikes... a +5 for what basically amounts to this question:

Is there anything here that infrared didn't try to solve?

Why yes! There's this problem with infrared called "line-of-site." Bluetooth is not affected by it. Nobody wants to use infrared because of this problem.

Bluetooth is the same way - you have to be so close that it's not really useful for much other than wireless keyboards and headphones.

Huh? Bluetooth works within a 10cm to 100m range! Read this:

http://www.palowireless.com/infotooth/knowbase/gen eral/10.asp [palowireless.com]

Bluetooth devices are failing for the same reasons infrared ports don't get used

Hmmm, how many bluetooth devices have hit the market so far? Zero? One? Two? I haven't seen any. I love people that claim a market is failing when it hasn't even started yet.

You probably think Internet Appliances are dead, too, right?

Is there something that you would actually pay an extra $30 to add to your small battery-operated device

Where did you get this number from? $30? Says who? Sure it'll be expensive at first, what isn't? Eventually the cost will be so small that you won't even notice it in the price of a device.

Also, there is a TON of stuff that Bluetooth could do that infrared cannot. For example:

- You could have an earbud for your cellphone that does not require a wire to connect to the phone, which could be in your pocket, next to you in your car, etc.

- You could have a bluetooth mouse and keyboard without anything sitting on your desk to accept the IR, since the range of bluetooth could easily reach your PC if it's near your desk.

- You could have a bluetooth pen that sends what it is writing to your PDA or laptop, for archival.

Try thinking out of the box a little bit, first.

802.11 is more than you think (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2197297)

Actually the "802.11" that you are speaking of is really called 802.11b (yes the 'b' is important). 802.11b is the standard that most everyone thinks of when they here wireless LAN, the 11Mbps transfer rate distance of 100 or 300 meters or something like that. But there are several other 802.11 specs out there, for instance the 54Mbps standard that will make use of the 5GHz ISM band, or the 802.11a standard (I believe it is a, might be g) which is in fact a direct competetor for Bluetooth. That is it is a low power short range wireless networking system designed to link things like handhelds and whatever else. It is not that far from release and probably will over shadow Bluetooth (mostly because BT sucks, I have been doing some extensive testing and it has the stability of a MS operating system). Anyway, just a few notes, thought that I might correct the guy on the Slashdot payroll who flaps his lips about things that he is obviously not educated about.

Re:802.11 is more than you think (1)

Gedvondur (40666) | more than 12 years ago | (#2197579)

Actually, 802.11a IS the 54Mbps 5GHz standard....Not sure what the other one is called....never heard of it.

Bluetooth? Not a hope. (2)

imipak (254310) | more than 12 years ago | (#2197301)

My humble prediction: Bluetooth is never going to amount to more than a lot of tradepress column inches, some PR, and a lot of R&D spending. Further prediction: exactly the same fate will befall Jini. Wireless networking is riddled with security holes; thus, as the inferior technology, it is bound to beat out the others.

A couple of Register stories: Psion dump Bluetooth [theregister.co.uk] due to lack of demand; and Microsoft knifes Bluetooth in the back [theregister.co.uk] . Let's hear it for good old fashioned British sarcasm, cynicism and *hey!* accurate reporting ;)

Ready for a reference to the Beast? (2, Insightful)

TheMohel (143568) | more than 12 years ago | (#2197307)

Not to blame everything on Microsoft, but The Register [theregister.co.uk] had a good article on this a while back. Why the press can't figure out that they're complementary standards, not competitive ones, is beyond me.

Basically... (1)

sCreeD (34863) | more than 12 years ago | (#2197308)

"Wi-Fi" is to Firewire
as
Bluetooth is to USB.

Hm, so what's copper and fiber Ethernet??
SCSI and Fibre Channel??

Hm....

Re:Basically... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2197384)

A while back here on /. there was an article on Hitachi(IIRC) operationg FireWire wirelessly over a 55Ghz radio link, to devices within 6Ft, pretty cool!

ease of use barrier (1)

GlassUser (190787) | more than 12 years ago | (#2197335)

I don't see how you can expect the average user to be able to implement the infrastructure necessary to support 802.11b. It's just a spec for ethernet, using air instead of wire. Just because you don't need a hub or cat5 cable doesn't mean you don't need planning (subnetting, IP assignment, etc). I don't expect the average user to be able to set it up, and I can see a lot of problems that would come from DHCP.


The author of the article goes blah blah about how wireless will send his world to a new level of convenience, but will he even be able to set it up? I think this underscores the difference between the technologies, and why (with the exception that similar frequency interference problem), they will ideally work together, like firewire and USB.

Re:ease of use barrier (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2197398)

The problem is, there have been many many average joes who have done just that. Apple.com [apple.com] , Linksys [linksys.com] , and guess what! It Works(tm)!

Don't count WiFi for handhelds out yet... (2)

color of static (16129) | more than 12 years ago | (#2197336)

Actually wireless ethernet maybe more suited for handhelds then you may think. 11 mbps is the way almost everyone runs it by default, but nothing says you can't use 1Mbps. By reducing the data rate, and power you can probably get a very low power PDA type connection with an acceptable range. In fact I've already seen CF cards that support 802.11 (from symbol), but there are no drivers for my TRGPro yet :-(.

What will plague both of these standards though is the half arse security design. Which ever one can address enterprise level security, wide range use (PDA to desktop), and enough bandwidth for the applications used (1Mbps is probably enough for small devices, but not for heavy file sharing. So which will be the driving factor?) will probably push the other out of the market.

Misunderstood Technologies 802.11b and Bluetooth (5, Insightful)

Gedvondur (40666) | more than 12 years ago | (#2197337)

Bluetooth is an interesting technology. When you start looking into it, the possibilities are enormous. A lot of people were bitten by the Bluetooth bug, and it's understandable why. It would be VERY cool if it worked out.

One of the huge problems is that people keep comparing 802.11b (WI-FI) to Bluetooth.

They are NOT the same thing. Go read the Bluetooth spec. Bluetooth is a cable replacement technology that can, if necessary, do some ad-hoc networking. 802.11b is wireless Ethernet. Not the same thing, not intended to do the same thing.

There have been a couple of companies that have been deliberately muddying the waters about this. Bluetooth is NOT an acceptable replacement or even a good substitute for 802.11b. Bluetooth is limited to 1megabit per second, which means throughput of about 650k to 800k real, depending on conditions. 802.11b is 11megabits max, and about 5megabits in the real world. (Shared bandwidth, retransmissions, and Ethernet overhead)

Bluetooth is staggeringly bad at providing traditional Ethernet services, just as 802.11b is awful as a cable replacement technology. 802.11b has too much power usage, and dependency on Ethernet for cable replacement. It was NOT designed to replace the cable going from your cell phone to your headset. Bluetooth was. It was just overly hyped and generally misunderstood. Too bad, it could have been cool.

Gedvondur

Re:Misunderstood Technologies 802.11b and Bluetoot (1)

Troed (102527) | more than 12 years ago | (#2197366)

This is the only sensible reply to this topic so far, the rest are from ill-informed people. Moderators, what are you doing?


(Yes I work in the telecom/cellphone/pda industry - I've worked with Bluetooth .. we have 802.11b and bluetooth at the office .. oooh ... )

Re:Misunderstood Technologies 802.11b and Bluetoot (2, Interesting)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | more than 12 years ago | (#2197423)

Yep, and even the NYT gets it wrong in the article. More evidence that the American press is in the entertainment business, not the information business. What a shame.

Re:Misunderstood Technologies 802.11b and Bluetoot (3, Interesting)

jpostel (114922) | more than 12 years ago | (#2197611)

About the speed of 802.11b... I just read a review of 10 or so access points and card combos. They had Cisco's Aironet at 4.8 Mbps. Most of the others were in the 2.5 - 4.0 range. This is fine for web or generic work, but it just won't fly in the corporate world.

Most of the consulting I have done in evaluating wireless LAN products has led to the conclusion that it is only good for laptops, and only light to moderate use at that. Most coders or DBAs won't touch it if they can't get 100 Mbps.

THEY ARE THE FUCKING SAME THING (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2197612)

except 802 is more expensive, and has longer range. Why don't you convince me CD-R/CD-RW and zip drive are not the same thing. Go ahead, go! by the time bluetooth work out its bug, 802.11 will be so cheap it won't matter anymore. I'm a student and i have a cisco card for godsake. DOn't be a cheap bastard and root for the cheap bluetooth.

(The whole idea of bluetooth constructs on a pressimistic premise, that the technology won't advance fast enough to bring down the cost of 802.11 and bring up the battery life. People don't like pressmistic visions, even though its ture)

-tino

802.11 is Insecure, How's Bluetooth? (2, Informative)

TeaJay (10918) | more than 12 years ago | (#2197344)

After this story on EE Times, perhaps the tide will shift a bit?
"Cipher attack delivers heavy blow to WLAN security - A new report dashes any remaining illusions that 802.11-based (Wi-Fi) wireless local-area networks are in any way secure"
EE Times Article. [eetimes.com]
Hmm, the attack scales linearly with number of bits. Bummer.

I almost hope so... (2, Insightful)

laertes (4218) | more than 12 years ago | (#2197348)

802.11b is pathetically weak. With every new node which uses 802.11b, faulty encryption is becoming more ingrained in our infrastructure. You can help stop the spread of 802.11b. Demonstrate a well known attack. Use AirSnort [sourceforge.net] , show it to your boss, coworkers, anyone who purchases hardware.

Information about this exploit doesn't seem to want to be free, for example, Slashdot wouldn't announce AirSnort when it came out. We shouldn't be satisfied until we can buy a wireless ethernet card with very strong encryption. However, if people continue to buy 802.11b cards, the hardware manufacturers will have no pressure to develop a less broken protocol.

Re:I almost hope so... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2197406)

Yawn, run ssh to secure your wireless connection and stop complaining.

Re:I almost hope so... (1)

|guillaume| (151395) | more than 12 years ago | (#2197649)

802.11b is pathetically weak. With every new node which uses 802.11b, faulty encryption is becoming

more ingrained in our infrastructure. You can help stop the spread of 802.11b. Demonstrate a well known

attack. Use AirSnort [sourceforge.net], show it to your boss, coworkers, anyone who purchases hardware.


I have demonstrated ethereal [ethereal.com] to my boss and people who purchases hardware, and they have decided to trash all the hubs and those pesky network cards that are only a mean for crackers to get into computers.

The ethernet protocol is broken, people can actually sniff packets on the network...

Guillaume

Re:I almost hope so... (3, Insightful)

kurowski (11243) | more than 12 years ago | (#2197650)

Come on, man. Nobody expects wireline ethernet hardware to come with strong encryption built into the hardware. Why do people insist on this for wireless? Because it's easier to tap? Not by much...

Relying on hardware for your encryption is short-sighted, since flaws in the crypto mean you need to buy new hardware. Plus, I want end-to-end encryption (think SSL, ssh, etc), not endpoint-to-accesspoint.

I just wish that 802.11b hardware came with NO encryption built in, that way people wouldn't suffer from the false sense of security that's been sold to them.

Bluetooth gets a push from Sony (2, Interesting)

jerkychew (80913) | more than 12 years ago | (#2197349)

Hopefully this isn't too oftopic - I thought it was informative enough for the current discussion...

I just came across this on Yahoo... looks like Sony's new Handicams will have Bluetooth chips built in:
http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20010820/tc/tech _s ony_handycam_dc_1.html

Yes and no (1)

djocyko (214429) | more than 12 years ago | (#2197350)

The article, IMHO, misses the difference in uses - if you've got a small device that you want to conserve power on, and only communicate small distances, Bluetooth's ideal. If you've got a lot of power, a la a notebook computer, and want to communicate 150 ft., then 802.11 is what you want. Imagine that: Different uses! Different standards! Amazing!

I'd just like to congradulate Hemos for making a very insightful comment that prolly cut the number of useless posts in this article thread in half.

But, despite the recognized difference, I think they may have soemthing anyway. The average consumer is gonna see two protocols that appear to be redundant; they both do some sort of wireless communication, no? And, as 802.11 gets more and more popular (as it has already hit off, as opposed to bluetooth)the average consumer will see the clearly higher use of 802.11 in devices and therefore choose to go with a 802.11 device, despite the advantages that bluetooth (is supposed to) have over 802.11

But then again, maybe not.

802.11 low-power mode (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2197351)

It's been pointed out that 802.11 could have a low-power mode. 802.11 HAS a low-power mode: it's called PCF, and nobody uses it. But really, if you don't mind the power drain on the slave (the master can't sleep anyways), you can even use a low-power transmitted with DCF.

The point is Bluetooth screws up 802.11, and which is more important, your LAN that allows people to get work done when they're not in their cube, or Bluetooth which lets people talk on their cell phone using an earpiece without wires? That's a tough call, Intel.

I can't understand the /. attitude towards Bluetooth. When MS creates proprietary standards, cool or otherwise, everyone rails on them. When Intel does it in cooperation with a couple other big names, but shuts out public participation, some people here seem to frown on the demise of the standard. While the IEEE standards process is not quite as open as the IETF, I'd take an IEEE standard over a Bluetooth SIG standard any day.

Small and Low Power IS possible. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2197354)

Don't believe me? Look at www.spectralink.com/products/NetLinkIP.html. This is a 802.11 based wireless phone. I recharge my battery about twice a week.
802.11 has an upgrade path. There will be higher data rates, the problems with WEP are getting slowly solved, and they are working on Quality of Service for Voice and Video devices just like this one.
Bluetooth can not keep up.

But 802.11 Is Cracked (1, Redundant)

GFD (57203) | more than 12 years ago | (#2197357)

I have a fair amount of money invested in a 802.11 WLAN at home which I am not going to use anymore because it has been totally cracked. This issue has been discussed here on slashdot in recent weeks (sorry no links - Slashdot search engine down).

Having said that, the 802.11 silicon is getting more integrated and I don't see that there will be much difference between the two from a cost point of view.

Blue tooth may win out because of the security issue as 802.11 fades away.

Re:But 802.11 Is Cracked (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2197516)

I have a fair amount of money invested in a 802.11 WLAN at home which I am not going to use anymore because it has been totally cracked.

What has been cracked is the WEP encryption standard, which was supposed to "provide privacy similar to that of a wire" but failed miserably due to a flawed protocol and weaknesses in the key scheduling algorithm used for the RC4 implimentation.

If you didn't use WEP then all your traffic was in the clear anyway.

Didn't we see this before? (1)

sporty (27564) | more than 12 years ago | (#2197361)

Didn't we see this problem before with x2 and kflex modems? Maybe we can pray to see a ...
compromise.

i think we should all just (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2197378)

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And as usual to avoid the registration.... (0, Redundant)

moniker_21 (414164) | more than 12 years ago | (#2197394)

just browse on over to here [nytimes.com] to read the article.

Anyhoo, I hope that 80211 does prevail. Bluetooth just seems very flashy and pretty with out a lot of substance, while 80211 is really starting to be truly useful. (Such as in my home network, I love being able to browse while sitting on my deck!)

802.11b WEP Problems (1)

MelvinZ (30029) | more than 12 years ago | (#2197421)

Now that there is not one, but two publicly available WEP cracking programs Airsnort [sourceforge.net] (written in C++) and WEPCrack [sourceforge.net] (written in PERL), 802.11b is looking worse all the time. Given WEP's inherent insecurity, Bluetooth looks all the more attractive.

No it wont (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2197427)

bluetooth and wi-fi should be viewed as wireless solutions for different situations.
bluetooth will succeed provided the handset manufacturers add BT to their phones. Ericsson has started this Nok and Mot are following. The key is to get a critical mass of these phones out. Given this critical mass a lot of companies will be salivating the reach them via BT. Cannot say that about Wi-Fi, wi-fi is more for private and personal use only, BT can be very easily used for push type scenarios. The usage scenarios are completely different (yes they are both about accesing data through wireless mechanisms).

I dont believe Wi-Fi will come to a PDA type device in the next couple years. BT will.

Yes. (1)

oncee (216065) | more than 12 years ago | (#2197429)

Yes.

Different uses! Same standard! (4, Informative)

The Pim (140414) | more than 12 years ago | (#2197453)

Different uses! Different standards!

Actually, we're better off using the same standard for different uses, wherever possible. Do you want to go back to TCP/IP, IPX, and NetBEUI on every LAN? Ethernet and token ring? They all have different uses, but they're close enough that we should just pick one pretending that it will work in all situations, then make the best of it.

Bluetooth and 802.11 are clearly in this situation, IMO. The main difference between them: one is for near and one for far. This makes sense by strict engineering standards, but in the big picture it's a detail. If 802.11 becomes the standard, we'll make it scale down to "near". Not to mention (as did another poster), what do I do if I'm "in between"? There are other parts to Bluetooth, but nothing that can't be layered on top of another network (in the Internet tradition of "dumb network, smart endpoints").

it's not just 802.11... (1)

kaisermike (466385) | more than 12 years ago | (#2197470)

That's right. Not only will bluetooth be affected by the vicious 802.11x standards, there's also the attack of the microwaves. These beasts also operate in the same 2.4 GHz range, and create a lot of noise to mess up those innocent signals.

Pretty soon the hackers will realize to have a Denial of Service attack they will need lots of microwaves...lots of microwaves.

Re:it's not just 802.11... (1)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 12 years ago | (#2197629)

> Pretty soon the hackers will realize to have a Denial of Service attack they will need lots of microwaves...lots of microwaves.

Given the average skr1pt k1ddi3's sk1llz, I say let 'em try. Microwave ovens with minor problems (but perfectly good magnetrons and high voltage power supplies) get tossed out on the sidewalk every weekend. An AC inverter and a car battery can make a nice backpack-portable power source.

When, the next morning, skr1pt k1ddi3z start showing up at hospitals with internal burns and need hand amputations, or eyeballs with cornea and/or vitreous humor cooked from the inside out, or are found dead in an alley from brain hemmorage, I'll just think of it as evolution in action.

Maybe someday we'll mutate into humans that have nerves that sense pain/heat in our internal organs. Until then, anyone who fscks around with magnetrons like this is on a one-way trip outa the gene pool.

802.11 for Palm platform (2)

autocracy (192714) | more than 12 years ago | (#2197498)

Xircom (?) offers an 802.11 expansion for the Visor handhelds. Let's you hook straight into the network. I'd really like to see BlueTooth as well (being an alternative to the IR port), but it wouldn't fill the same gap. I personally think BlueTooth may be having some problems right now...

150 feet? (1)

Frederic54 (3788) | more than 12 years ago | (#2197499)

What can I use if I want more than that, say a range of about 20 miles? What kind of technology/speed is available? I think Spread Spectrum can not work for this, no?

Actually thisis how it happened (1)

Microsift (223381) | more than 12 years ago | (#2197512)

He was killed [everything2.com] by his own son over a thousand years before "Wi-Fi"

Use a smaller 802.11b radio (5, Informative)

Jeffrey Baker (6191) | more than 12 years ago | (#2197517)

My esteemed Slashdot colleagues have already pointed out that 802.11b can have verious modes, from 1 to 11mbps. But there also is no standard for 802.11b radio output power. You can have a 100mW radio like the Cisco Aironet LCM352, or you can have a 30mW radio like the Lucent Orinoco Silver. You could have 1W or 1mW, as well. I suspect that if your range requirement is only 10 meters, you could use a 5mW radio and a short dipole antenna at 1mbps for a low-power 802.11b device. If you could get 1 or 2 dBi gain out of the antenna, you'd be doing even better.

Bluetooth doomed (1)

thejake316 (308289) | more than 12 years ago | (#2197548)

PHBs, CIOs, CTOs, and those sorts won't buy Bluetooth "less cable at the desktop" and short-range networking because it difficult to justify and not corporate-flashy. "Wireless Ethernet" sells (even if that isn't strictly what it is) because the CIOs and CTOs are familiar (they think) with the technology and can explain the advantages to the Head Suit In Charge (bring your laptop to meetings and not fumble with cat5, etc.) As with so many other things, the general-purpose standard will be adopted and will be subject to Procrustean adaptation to things it's not suited for, despite the existance of something 'better.'

Can 802.11 actually work in a Palm or a cell phone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2197553)

*COUGH*

Have we heard of iPaq ?

Bluetooth does different things. (4, Interesting)

Neorej (398404) | more than 12 years ago | (#2197565)

And I like them,

I went to Ericsson once where they showed us a bunch of stuff working over bluetooth (vending machines, connections to pda's, laptops, internet radios, web pads and overhead beamers) and I must say I was impressed.

Interference may be an issue though but in the long run I think a technology like Bluetooth (not necesarily Bluetooth itself) will reach a large market. At some point in the future we will all probably have some fiber/DSL X megabit line into our home which is hooked up to some routing thing that sends the whole stream into the air thru some shortish range technology. From that point on we can access that broadband line from every Bluetooth enables device in our home. You don't need a high power 150' range wireless lan for that, you'd just upset the neighbourhood then.

Wireless lan may be able to do the same thing but as far as I know it's probably going to be a lot more expensive, Bluetooth and wireless lan are 2 different things (which was one of the first things I heard from the Ericsson people) with different uses. The Bluetooth organisation thingy whatever comittee or something wants to get the price of a chip under $5 so practically every manufacturer will throw in bluetooth, if only as a marketing thing. I don't see that happening with wireless lan.

Besides all that LAN's Ethernet, AFAIK, and Bluetooth makes individual connections to different devices on different frequencies, again AFAIK. Bluetooth just seems a lot more efficient to hook up devices that don't need a gazillion bits to operate at an acceptable level.

Ok, I'll stop ranting now, it's the end of the working day and I can't say I'm feeling very coherent :-)

Sony seems to be endorsing Bluetooth (2)

moonboy (2512) | more than 12 years ago | (#2197636)



Here is an article [yahoo.com] on Yahoo about Sony Handycam's
using Bluetooth to make them "networkable" for sharing media.

Is it just me or does Sony seem to support a lot of varied technologies? Seems it would make them less disaster-prone to debacles involving putting all of their technological "eggs" in one proverbial basket. It kind of makes sense when you have Sony's financial backing to be on every bandwagon that comes through town.

They were foremost in the mini-disk market (which sadly didn't make it because I bought one ;) and they didn't shy away from the mp3 market with players and memory stick tech.

Just a thought.
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