Bluetooth + WiFi

Bluetooth + WiFi
Bluetooth + WiFi. Bluetooth is to hitch a ride on Wifi when transfers of images and other large files are required, it was announced at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The fastest data rate Bluetooth can manage currently is about 3Mbit/sec – and order of magnitude slower than Wifi. But it is far more frugal in its use of power when setting up transfer or listening for transfer requests. The plan is to marry Bluetooth eventually to ultrawideband (UWB) technology which it will use as a fat data pipe carrying upwards or 400Mbit/second.

According to Bluetooth SIG, this innovative method of radio substitution will allow the well known Bluetooth protocols, profiles, security and pairing to be used in consumer devices while achieving faster throughput with momentary use of a secondary radio already present in the device — that's in case your phone does also sport a WiFi radio.

Michael Foley, executive director of the Bluetooth SIG, described Wifi as the “low-hanging fruit” of wireless technology. “We’re taking... classic Bluetooth connection – using Bluetooth protocols, profiles, security and other architectural elements – and allowing it to jump on top of the already present 802.11 [Wifi] radio when necessary...

“When the speed of 802.11 is overkill, the connection returns to normal Bluetooth operation for optimal power management.”

The advantage to using Bluetooth in devices like phones and cameras is that the technology is a lot less power-hungry than Wi-Fi. It seems the Bluetooth-Wi-Fi combo approach seems unnecessarily complicated. A better option would be to develop Wi-Fi chips that require less power.

The core specification enabling the Alternate MAC/PHY is expected to be published to members in mid-2009, and in the meantime, Bluetooth 2.1 combined with the good ol' USB cable will still to do the job.
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