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Wednesday, 22 April 2009 04:15

Bluetooth supercharged to 24Mbps, with lower power usage

The Bluetooth SIG has formally adopted the core specification for Bluetooth 3.0, which will support data rates up to 24 Mbps (compared to the 3Mbps of the current version) and reduced power consumption thanks to inbuilt enhanced power control.

Bluetooth 3.0, also known as Bluetooth Core Specification Version 3.0 + High Speed (Bluetooth 3.0 + HS) uses the 802.11 radio interface. According to Bluetooth SIG executive director, Michael Foley, this was "a natural choice as it provides efficiencies for both our members and consumers – members get more function out of the two radios they are already including in devices, and consumers with Bluetooth 3.0 + HS products will get faster exchange of information without changing how they connect."

However The Bluetooth SIG's formal adoption of the specification is only the first step in the product lifecycle, but the Bluetooth SIG says "News out today from wireless chip manufacturers and Bluetooth SIG member companies Atheros, Broadcom and CSR shows the second step – getting silicon solutions to device manufacturers – is already underway. End products for consumers are expected to be in the market in 9 to 12 months."

The Bluetooth SIG announced it plans to use 802.11 technology in February 2008. Foley explained at the time: "This is the wireless technology equivalent of 'low hanging fruit'. What we're doing is taking classic Bluetooth connections – using Bluetooth protocols, profiles, security and other architectural elements – and allowing it to jump on top of the already present 802.11 radio, when necessary, to send bulky entertainment data, faster. When the speed of 802.11 is overkill, the connection returns to normal operation on a Bluetooth radio for optimal power management and performance."

In 2006, the Bluetooth SIG had announced the selection of the WiMedia Alliance brand of ultra wideband technology as a high speed channel for Bluetooth technology. It said in its February 2008 announcement that "This development work continues between the two organisations in advance of widespread ultra wideband technology adoption – expected to be co-located in many Bluetooth devices. In the meantime, however, the SIG will make use of IEEE 802.11, a technology already present in many of the devices demanding greater speeds."

However since then the fortunes of UWB have waned considerably and the main organisation promoting UWB standards, The WiMedia Alliance, closed its doors earlier this year.

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