Comments on: Compex Intros Bluetooth Access Point

CES 2003: Compex, a networking and connectivity provider introduced the BTE201 Bluetooth Wireless Access Point as CES 2003. The BTE201 enables up to seven Bluetooth enabled devices to connect concurrently to a network with a range of 10 meters (30 feet).
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BT APs for a very small purpose?

Lidocaineus @ 1/14/2003 2:11:31 PM #
First off, isn't Class 2 20-50 meters (60-150 FT), and Class 3 is 10 meteres (30 FT) maximum?

I think BT access points are an ok idea (if they come down in price), but will the main uses be only for PDAs and such?

Because 802.11a/b/g is better for laptops and PCs where battery life is not such a concern as on a PDA, not to mention better coverage and bandwidth. For something like a Tungsten or IPaq to use the access point, it was to be closer than 10 meters, since they are almost always Class 3 devices (use a lot less battery power). The access point may be able to "see" the PDA farther away, but the PDA won't have enough power to reach back to the access point. Even for a normal sized apartment, you'd need at least two for full coverage.

Someone point out the holes in my logic, because I'm sure there are some.

RE: BT APs for a very small purpose?
Admin @ 1/14/2003 2:21:55 PM #
Compex went with a Class 2 range because it draws less power from your PDA or laptop, thus giving you more battery life on you mobile device. So there is a slight tradeoff between range and power requirements.

I was previously unaware that accessing a class 3 (30 meter range) BT wireless access point would consume more power than if you were using a class 2 BT WAP.

RE: BT APs for a very small purpose?
sralmas @ 1/14/2003 2:26:08 PM #
The holes are that 802.11 and BT are not mutually exclusive technologies. They are different tools all together. Your 802.11 PDA won't do you much good the second you leave the home, though. However, armed with a BT phone and BT PDA, you've got a wireless connection anywhere that your phone will work. Wouldn't it be nice to have the BT adapter near your PC too so you can sync or check email without having to get behind your desk. On the otherhand, I have 802.11b in my house for my laptops. When not near a BT access point, that would work nicely for me too. If I had to choose between the two (and I don't and shouldn't), give me BT. At least then I can go wireless when NOT in my home and my PDA can dial my phone for me, which may be accross the room, and I can use my BT ear bud to speak. Different uses for different purposes.

That's my .02

RE: BT APs for a very small purpose?
Lidocaineus @ 1/14/2003 3:03:58 PM #
I understand the applications of BT and 802.11 - I'm not one of those folks who think the two are interchangeable. What I'm questioning is is the validity of BT access points. There doesn't seem to be a very large market for them outside of providing your PDA with an access connection in the home/office, but you still have to be relatively close to the AP.

I'll put it another way. If you have a laptop, you probably have 802.11 hardware built in or added on. Fine. You might have a BT dongle for connecting to your phone for access when you're away from an 802.11 access point. Fine. Given the choice, you'd use an 802.11 access point at home, not a BT one which I believe most people would agree with.

Let's say you have a PDA. It has 802.11. Fine, get an access point for it to work at home, and forgo connectivity on the road.

Now let's say your PDA has BT. You have connectivity on the road with a BT phone. At home or in the office, you use a BT access point. But is it worth it? After all, the BT transmitters in PDA's are very low power - class 3. That's 30 feet max, at optimal (no walls) environments. You would basically have to stand around the access point, or at least relatively close. It doesn't matter how powerful the access point is - the PDA BT device is the limiting factor.

So what you basically have is a BT access point that only works in a small area. I have a class 1 device (300 feet effective) but when it communicated with any BT PDA I have (or my roommate's), it can barely make it 15 feet thanks to the low powered BT in the PDAs. Your options are to either sit in a spot near where you place the access point, or place more than one around your home/apartment if you move around.

If these access points were cheap (say, $20 a pop), it might be ok, but I have a feeling that they will be in the $100 and up range when they first start selling.
That's quite expensive for an access point which will in all likelihood only be servicing your PDA in a very limited area, don't you think? Especially when you can get decent USB class 1 BT dongles (the Belkin's are excellent) for your PC for $25 and basically get the same thing...?

These access points are nice, but it all comes down to this:

What will they interface with? Laptops? Possibly, but 802.11 seems to be a better solution in that regard. PCs? I guess, though even 802.11 has more bandwidth than BT's max of around 1mbps, making it a very slow networking solution. That leaves PDAs and... what else?

Bluetooth vs. 802.11b: The access network perspective
pdangel @ 1/14/2003 4:07:52 PM #
Various Bluetooth Info:

-Bluetooth vs. 802.11b: The access network perspective (interesting and must read imho)
-Security: Bluetooth vs 802.11
-January 14, 2003 -- Strong Growth for Bluetooth Chipsets in Spite of Economy
-PDA's, Products, Reviews, Compatibility, Setups etc.
-Bluetooth Stacks from Palm, Microsoft, Symbian, Linux and Apple
-Software support for PalmOS, PPC, Symbian and Bluetooth e.g Games, Calendaring/Scheduling solution, SMS, Print Software etc.
-Bluetooth Usuage: Gaming, Medical, Telematics, Notebooks, Phones, PDA's, USB adapters, Printing, Mouse, Keyboard, Audio, Tracking etc.
-Bluetooth GPS Solutions
-Telematics and Wireless
-Wireless SDIO Card News
-Apple to integrate Bluetooth into laptops

-802.11 => Networking
-Bluetooth => Mobility (+ Networking function but much slower)

"....Bluetooth access points present a very attractive alternative to Wi-Fi for many applications that value security and low power consumption. I strongly urge you to consider evaluating this technology very carefully before blindly jumping on the Wi-Fi bandwagon… especially if that bandwagon runs on batteries."

There have been many debates as to which is the ultimate wireless technology that will prevail, and I fully subscribe to the suggestion that Bluetooth is a wire replacement technology, whereas 802.11b is more suitable for network connectivity. However, in certain environments, Bluetooth can be an attractive option for setting up a network.

802.11 is still prefered in most environments imho.

"There are 2 kind of people my friend....those with wires and those without"

RE: BT APs for a very small purpose?
pdangel @ 1/14/2003 4:32:19 PM #
Link doesn't work. Try this link....

"There are 2 kind of people my friend....those with wires and those without"
Bluetooth Power/Range Classes 1, 2 & 3
pdangel @ 1/14/2003 4:37:33 PM #
The transceiver used in Bluetooth is using the 2.4GHz ISM band. Each device is classified into 3 power classes, Power Classes 1, 2 & 3.

Power Class 1: is designed for long range (~100m/330
feet) devices, with a max output power of 20 dBm,
Power Class 2: for ordinary range devices (~10m/33 feet) devices, with a max output power of 4 dBm,
Power Class 3: for short range devices (~10cm/3.3feet) devices, with a max output power of 0 dBm.

Bluetooth 330 Feet (100 meter) Range Devices

"There are 2 kind of people my friend....those with wires and those without"

Impartial @ 1/14/2003 5:29:13 PM #
Access point-to-PDA connections CAN be beyond class 3 range. The access point has an enhanced antenna that can pick up the class 3 signal from a longer range. Thus, PDA-PDA or PDA-cellphone range is 30 feet, and PDA-WAP range or cellphone-WAP range is around 100 feet.

Am I helping yet?
RE: BT APs for a very small purpose?
Lidocaineus @ 1/14/2003 5:42:06 PM #
AH! Thanks to Impartial who actually took the time to understand the question!

Bluetooth will never replace 802.11 because they are fundamentally different and serve different purposes. BT's bandwidth is pitiful in comparison, but for what it does, there doesn't really need to be much more. Possibly in the future, a successor to BT or 802.11 will integrate BTs low power requirements with 802.11s range, but until then, I find it annoying to try and adapt BT applications to ones better suited bt 802.11.

However, with Impartial's quick reply, it looks like BT access points *can* be viable product.

RE: BT APs for a very small purpose?
jciao @ 1/14/2003 7:09:37 PM #
Given that Bluetooth has the edge in power consumption, but 802.11 having the edge in range...

Why doesn't someone create some sort of battery powered unit that one one hand connects to your PDA via bluetooth, and links you to your 802.11 wireless network on the other side. Take along something the size of a pack of cigarettes to "boost" your power.

If they are coming out with a 802.11 SD card, such a unit could be loaded up with battery storage.

Would something like this be compatible between the two wireless protocols?

Just a thought...

Bluetooth-Wi-Fi Access Points
pdangel @ 1/15/2003 4:47:12 AM #
Patria Ailon Ailonet Wireless/Bluetooth Access Point

PicoBlue II Combines Bluetooth and Wi-Fi Access Points

Strix Systems 802.11a and Bluetooth access point

Possio PX20 is an access point which combines both Bluetooth and WLAN into a single device.

Red-M 1050AP Access Point provides an excellent introduction to Bluetooth networking. Alternatively, multiple access points can be installed on the LAN and managed by a central server running Red-M's Genos wirelessware.
Genos is an in-building wireless data and voice software solution that provides control, management, security, policy, roaming and other services for multiple types of wireless devices (PDA, PC, phone, tablets, headsets etc.), different wireless technologies (802.11a, b, g wireless LAN, Bluetooth, etc.) and multiple vendors' access points.

SuperBT's SBT-2000 and SBT-4000 merges W-Fi and Bluetooth technologies without interference or loss of performance, enabling Ethernet connectivity for a whole range of mobile devices such as handheld computers (PDAs), laptops, web pads, mobile phones and emerging application specific devices.
SBT-4000 Wireless Access Point

Wireless Networks Inc: BlueLAN™ Wireless Gateway enables mobile and semi-mobile Bluetooth devices to access the LAN or WAN.
WNI Universal Wireless Gateway provides both wired and wireless access by integrating 802.11b, Bluetooth, and Ethernet technologies in a single gateway.

Inventel is offering the DBW-250 and EBW-250 access points for wireless LANs (WLANs) combining both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technology.

NewLogic Technologies wireless multisystem intellectual property solution supporting the Bluetooth 1.1 standard as well as the WLAN 802.11a/b/g standards.

Axis and Consafe cooperate to deliver wireless access points to Chilean Internet service provider

"There are 2 kind of people my friend....those with wires and those without"

RE: BT APs for a very small purpose?
pdangel @ 1/15/2003 5:53:29 AM #
Who said "Bluetooth will replace 802.11" lido?

Bluetooth will never replace 802.11 like 802.11 will never replace Bluetooth.

"There are 2 kind of people my friend....those with wires and those without"

Impartial @ 1/15/2003 5:44:42 PM #
You can get a 9V or AA charger for nearly every Palm. Just plug one in, and you have the "pack of cigarettes" sized power source. Some are even smaller :).

Am I helping yet?

BT access point connects to what?

midtoad @ 1/14/2003 2:48:16 PM #
what I want to know is whether the BT can hang off a PC in a home network, and still allow me out to go out through the firewall / server to the outside world.

My home network uses a Linux-powered server with cable modem. From there, a router leads to a couple of desktops, one running Linux and another Windows.

I assume most BT access points will only connect to Windows initially, so can I hang the thing off the Windows desktop and still have it work?

Same question about 802.11b access points.


Stewart Midwinter
PDA user since 1992
Handera HE330 and Compaq Aero 2110

RE: BT access point connects to what?
krosfyah @ 1/14/2003 2:57:41 PM #
I would assume it has a 100baseT port and it hangs right off the least I hope so. It would seem sensless to hang it off a PC otherwise what's the difference of just using the PC itself?

RE: BT access point connects to what?
Admin @ 1/14/2003 3:19:04 PM #
Yes, this has ethernet and regular phone ports. You could configure it to connect directly to your cable/DSL line or use DHCP and connect to your existing router.
RE: BT access point connects to what?
pdangel @ 1/15/2003 5:56:27 AM #
To use Linux, Windows or another OS depends on which Bluetooth Software is used imho. But am not a tech....

Bluetooth Stacks from Palm, Microsoft, Symbian, Linux and Apple

"There are 2 kind of people my friend....those with wires and those without"

Terse Product Info Available at

potter @ 1/14/2003 4:01:37 PM #

Tungsten T network access profile fixed yet?

ganoe @ 1/14/2003 4:04:02 PM #
So has Palm fixed the bug in the TT where using the network access profile causes the device to reset?

RE: Tungsten T network access profile fixed yet?
asiayeah @ 1/15/2003 7:07:35 AM #
Is Palm Solutions working on this bug?

With great power comes great responsiblity.


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