Faster Versions of Bluetooth Under Development
The Bluetooth Special Interest Group is working on a couple of new versions of the wireless networking standard which will feature faster access. In the near term, the SIG is working on Bluetooth 1.2, which will offer communication rates of 2 Mbps to 3 Mbps. Longer term, it is also working on Bluetooth 2.0, which will have rates of 4, 8 and 12 Mbps. The current version, Bluetooth 1.1, is limited to 1 Mbps. Bluetooth 2.0 may not be available until 2004.
Neither of these versions of the wireless standard will offer more range than the current one, about 10 meters. Bluetooth 2.0 will require about twice as much power. The new chip sets are expected to be about 20% more expensive.
Bluetooth 2.0 will also do away with the master and slave relationship used in the current standard, which causes problems when a master leaves a networked group of devices. In the new one, all devices will be equal.
The new version isn't intended to be a replacement for the current version of Bluetooth.
Jaap Haartsen, a scientist at Ericsson Technology Licensing and the original developer of Bluetooth, revealed this information in speech this week to the Bluetooth Congress meeting in Amsterdam and it was reported in EE Times.
Bluetooth is facing competition from other wireless networking standards, like 802.11, also called Wi-Fi, which has won converts because it already offers a communication rate of up to 10 Mbps and greater range. However, according to Mr. Haartsen, Bluetooth is the best option for small, mobile devices because of its low cost and low power requirements.
Bluetooth was originally developed to be a way for computer peripherals to communicate with each other wirelessly, freeing users from the rat's nest of wires behind their computers. Recently, however, companies have begun to release products that use it for connecting to networks and the Internet.
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