Opinions Vary on Bluetooth vs. 802.11

Phillip Redman, a technology analyst for the Gartner Group, said that neither 802.11 nor Bluetooth is likely to win out as a single wireless standard. Bluetooth will be used to create connections between devices while 802.11 is a more robust networking method.

However, he said that 802.11 is more expensive than Bluetooth and uses more power, which will limit its inclusion in many mobile devices.

On the other hand, Sean Maloney, general manager of the Intel Communications Group, said earlier this week, "802.11 has won. Bluetooth is in full retreat from Moscow at the moment. It may end up winning but right now it isn't...Bluetooth will survive but it will be a much more niche product than expected."

Until now, Intel has been a major advocate of Bluetooth and is an important member of the Bluetooth SIG, the trade group for the technology. It is not yet clear if Intel is changing its plans on Bluetooth products. Xircom, an Intel subsidiary, has announced it is releasing a Bluetooth clip-on module that uses Palm's Universal Connector and a Bluetooth Springboard module in the next few months. They also make an 802.11 Springboard.

Palm has thrown its weight heavily behind Bluetooth. It is also an important member of the Bluetooth SIG and has promised a Bluetooth SD card by the end of this year and that next year it will release handhelds with built-in Bluetooth.

Sony has also shown support for Bluetooth. They are expected to release the Infostick, a Memory Stick with Bluetooth capabilities, sometime this year.

There has also been strong third-party support for Bluetooth. Several companies have announced clip-on modules for the Palm V series and others are making printers and network access ports.

At this time, Xircom appears to be the only company that has announced any products designed specifically to give PalmOS handhelds 802.11 access. But 802.11 has already begun to be adopted as a method to wirelessly connect laptops and there are a large number of products to support this. Companies have even begun to install 802.11 networks in major airports.

About Bluetooth
Bluetooth is the name of a short-range radio frequency (RF) technology that replaces cables. Bluetooth allows computers, peripherals, and other devices to communicate with each other without having a physical connection, or direct line-of-sight with each other, and without needing extra communication protocols. Bluetooth technology operates at 2.4 GHz and is capable of transmitting voice and data. The effective range of Bluetooth devices is 32 feet (10 meters). Bluetooth transfers data at the rate of 1 Mbps, which is from three to eight times the average speed of parallel and serial ports, respectively. Bluetooth technology allows users to create a PAN (Personal Area Network) in which they can synchronize data with handhelds and PCs, and access data and E-mail on handhelds remotely with the use of a Bluetooth enabled cellular phone.

About 802.11b
802.11b Wireless LAN, also known as Wireless Ethernet, is a radio frequency (RF) network access technology. It allows users to access information wirelessly throughout a home, business or campus location. The technology is most often used to expand the coverage of a wired LAN, but, it can also be used to replace wired networks. The technology can require the installation of access points (radio transceivers) to provide wireless coverage across a local area. Wireless LAN can also exist in a Peer-to-Peer setting, between devices that have WLAN access modules. The 802.11b standard ensures interoperability among WLAN networks by implementing regulations for WLAN product manufacturers. Businesses, schools, and other institutions often find it beneficial to standardize equipment so that they can combine hardware from different vendors. Home users who purchase 802.11b compliant products are assured that they will work with products produced by various manufacturers.

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Finally someone who got it

I.M. Anonymous @ 8/31/2001 10:51:30 AM #
BT and 802.11b doesn't compete in the same areas, BT is for cross device communication while 802.11b is for communication between computers.

RE: Finally someone who got it
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/31/2001 11:14:43 AM #
Your absolutely correct!
Technically speaking.

Nobody got anything. Or do you see something?

Except for the Apple Macintosh user which work happily since many years with the ultrarobust Airport system stands for 802.11b. 128 bit encrypted.

The PDA User is still crippled with IR.

That 802.11b sucks more energy is not true as such there are different specifications for 802.11b several of them quite energy saving.

Just the mainstream, as always as when there to much fat cooks involved, did not get it.

And therefore we, the Palm user will get very late a basically unfit, snarrowband and unpractical system for WAN / LAN networking the bluetooth.

What is good for a camera to monitor or phone to headset or fridge to toaster connection is not the proper tool for what palm users really need.

Similar as the Dragonball processors used in the Palm today which where used in the first Macintoshes - gets for about US$ 8.- over the table in masses BT is cheap.

As well as the still non existing (ok - in ****eopaitc doses seen) BT chip is cheap - in any aspect (especially in the security side) The price is the real 500 pound gorilla in the fight.

Therefore: I bet my pant, Palm will get it wrong by supporting bluetooth!

RE: Finally someone who got it
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/31/2001 11:42:58 AM #
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/31/2001 11:14:43 AM,

Sorry but, I can't understand your post nor your point.

RE: Finally someone who got it
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/31/2001 2:23:25 PM #
I agree one hundred percent.. the poster above has it all wrong... and for once, something other than drivel has been produced by Gartner.

Its a question of horses for courses.. Of course I am sure how much of a handicap the "narrow" bandwidth of bluetooth will be... as I recall it runs ay 1.1 mbi.. twice the speed of my adsl line... so you won't find me whingeing about it....

RE: Finally someone who got it
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/31/2001 4:05:16 PM #
My point was, that (for the Palm) unfit buetooth is no way to finish and the reliable 811 is here

RE: Finally someone who got it
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/31/2001 8:09:25 PM #
It is not generally true that 802.11b products support the more energy saving method. There are two type-- direct sequence and frequency hopping, the frequency hopping one is the same as what Bluetooth uses which is more power saving but the speed is limited to 2 Mbps (or 1.6 Mbps). The other one which is the one most of companies are making nowadays (max speed 11 Mbps, can be down to 1 Mbps), the Direcct Sequence, which suck out power faster than the Frequency Hopping one (even when the speed is the same)!!

The problem is that no one product can squeeze both Direct Sequence one and Frequency Hopping one into the the product while keeping price low, in fact, I don't know any company is doing that.

Besides, the Frequnecy Hopping one is still more expensive and power hungry than Bluetooth since they are targeted at different applications!

This is what you get -- Higher performance but power consuming and expensive, or cheaper price but lower performance! No free lunch!

More development should be interesting

I.M. Anonymous @ 8/31/2001 11:10:50 AM #
I have a HandEra 330 and plan on having both Bluetooth and 802.11 cards. The latter would be useful for the few WLANs on the college campus where I spend my days and the former seems interesting for the idea of my Palm discovering someone else's. That could take the beaming concept a step further than it has gone so far as a way to establish a community of Palm users who run into each other at random. Beyond that, I would love to see both of them stuffed into one card.

RE: More development should be interesting
ganoe @ 8/31/2001 2:16:25 PM #
Same here, though not necessarily for the same reasons. We already have 802.11 on campus and at my work office, so I'll probably get an 802.11 CF card for there. I haven't set up wireless at home yet, and I'm really tempted to hold off for Bluetooth. I figure one Bluetooth LAN access point should cover pretty much most of the area I want to roam, and it will be as cheap if not cheaper than 802.11 soon. 802.11 will most likely suck a person's batteries dry doing much more than checking e-mail. Plus Bluetooth's other profiles leave room for other neat options to "wire" remote devices in wirelessly around the home.

Forget them both...

I.M. Anonymous @ 8/31/2001 1:52:44 PM #
While I would really like to see my Clie connected to my 802.11b network, I just read this article at CNN:


UWB sounds like the best of all possible worlds. Hope it gets approved. Has anyone else heard about this?

RE: Forget them both...
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/31/2001 8:18:37 PM #
Don't you think we have had more enough hypes?

The thing is that wireless tech evolves very slowly, never trust any new things, there is no breakthrough in wireless. Wireless need lots of hard work, not crazy new ideas.

ps. Back to three years ago, people also excited about Bluetooth, look at what kind of things it bring to us now?!

widespread interference
mj6798 @ 9/1/2001 2:11:55 PM #
The companies promoting UWB claim that it doesn't interfere, but it does: it generates noise over a very wide range of frequencies and interferes with other frequency allocations. It may not matter with a few devices, but if these things become as cheap and widespread as the companies want them to become, they'll be a problem. UWB is an attempt to carve up the existing radio spectrum differently, and get everybody to buy into new, costly, proprietary technology. We have chosen to organize our radio spectrum by frequency bands, not by spreading sequences, and I hope the FCC won't go for UWB. I suspect that if it does get approved at all, it will be a very limited approval.

Remember what a Palm really is

I.M. Anonymous @ 8/31/2001 2:02:52 PM #
A Palm is really a peripheral, not a full fleged computer, though many people try to make it do full-fledged-computer type things. Bluetooth is a perfect interconnect for *peripherals* like the Palm (think "replace serial cable").

802.11b is a wireless LAN environment. Just as you wouldn't normally hook your keyboard into ethernet, you wouldn't normally hook a Palm to 802.11b. Sure, it's possible, but it's not the main purpose.


RE: Remember what a Palm really is
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/31/2001 4:04:01 PM #
probably not for everybody - but surely for a lot of buiness users!

Not thinking clearly

Coyote67 @ 8/31/2001 5:01:52 PM #
What people don't seem to understand the way things work. It doesn't matter which one is better, although imho wlan is. Palm has to go the way of the corporate market first. Bluetooth will never show up in the corporate field, for many reasons. One, well its not made for corporate, and not secure enough. And two, bluetooth has a habit of totally screwing up when its near 802.11b. It is stupid for palm to invest in a standard that won't be supported by the biggest and most wealthy customers.

OH my god...becky, look at her....Prism.

RE: Not thinking clearly
AriB @ 8/31/2001 5:25:53 PM #
wi-fi isn't very secure either

RE: Not thinking clearly
Xian @ 8/31/2001 6:12:35 PM #
Just look at the Air Snort program for Linux, also read the documents from different groups about how insecure the 40-bit WEP encryption standard is. I'm more worried about how insecure WEP is than Bluetooth.

RE: Not thinking clearly
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/31/2001 11:03:27 PM #
yeah bluetooth is so secure, it isn't even here yet.

how long do you think somebody will found bluettoth security weakneses once it is out? it's not like Bluetooth mocule has a significantly higher processing power to do ultra encryption strength. Otherwise itwouldn't be called small and low power apps, would it?

802.11 security is bad

mj6798 @ 9/1/2001 2:16:37 PM #
This NASA story (http://www.nas.nasa.gov/About/Media/announcements.html#alert_8_23_01) pretty much says it all: 802.11 security is useless. But, then, I'm not sure whether Bluetooth is any better--does anybody know?



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