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High speed Bluetooth ready for wider market

Posted: 15 May 2009 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Bluetooth? wireless technology? UWB?

The recent announcement that the Bluetooth SIG has formally adopted Bluetooth high speed with 802.11 to enable faster data transfer, may have shuddered the hopes and potential future for the version which will include UWB. With the release of Bluetooth high speed, 2009 is already proving itself to be one of the most important years for the Bluetooth market. The launch of this technology combination provides an opportunity for Bluetooth to diversify into new markets and broaden the technology's appeal.

The high speed version of the technology is backwards compatible with older Bluetooth devices (although they wouldn't be able to take advance of the extra speed) and still uses the same protocols for establishing connections. However, what does the future have in store for Bluetooth high speed with UWB? Is the initial launch of Bluetooth high speed with 802.11, the final nail in the coffin for UWB in this space, or is it just taking a slower route to success?

UWB has been making very slow headway for a few years now and with the disappearance of start up companies such as WiQuest and Tzero, UWB will need to make a significant breakthrough sooner rather than later for it to make an impact on the progress Bluetooth high speed with 802.11 is already making.

Despite the struggles UWB has experienced over recent years, the technology provides a number of WPAN specific advantages over Wi-Fi. Emma Naudo, research analyst at IMS Research commented, "The difficulty for UWB is that, unlike Wi-Fi, it is not mature and doesn't have an established ecosystem. This lack of support has proved to be very influential in the Bluetooth SIG's choice for their first version of the high speed technology. The SIG however have already announced that they are still working on the integration of UWB with Bluetooth for future versions of this technology."

Success for UWB is reliant upon the development of a supporting ecosystem. However, several other competing technologies could impact the success of both versions of Bluetooth high speed. For example, Intel's 'My Wi-Fi Technology' provides the benefits offered by the initial release of Bluetooth high speed; high data rates and better throughput, whilst enabling devices to communicate over a peer to peer network.

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