Networking

Bluetooth technology

This new wireless technology promises an end to cable hell, but is it ready for prime time? During this Guild Meeting buypogo.com's Tim Lee explained how Bluetooth works and why it might change the way hardware interacts in the future.


On July 20th buypogo.com’s Tim Lee discussed Bluetooth technology. This new wireless technology promises an end to cable hell, but is it ready for prime time? Tim explained how this technology works and why it might change the way hardware interacts in the future. If you couldn’t join us then, enjoy the transcript and we hope to see you on our next live Guild Meeting. You can find a schedule of Guild Meetings in your weekly TechProGuild Notes TechMail, or on the Guild Meeting calendar.

On July 20th buypogo.com’s Tim Lee discussed Bluetooth technology. This new wireless technology promises an end to cable hell, but is it ready for prime time? Tim explained how this technology works and why it might change the way hardware interacts in the future. If you couldn’t join us then, enjoy the transcript and we hope to see you on our next live Guild Meeting. You can find a schedule of Guild Meetings in your weekly TechProGuild Notes TechMail, or on the Guild Meeting calendar.

Note: TechProGuild edits Guild Meeting transcripts for clarity.

Welcome to the Guild Meeting
MODERATOR: Well, it's that time again. Guild Meeting time. Tonight, TechProGuild is pleased to feature Tim Lee of buypogo.com. Tim will be explaining how Bluetooth works and why it may change the way hardware interacts in the future.

I give you Tim Lee, tonight's speaker. Tell us about Bluetooth, Tim.

Introducing Bluetooth technology
TIM LEE: Bluetooth is a global consortium that seeks to create a wireless world for everything we do. The basic idea behind Bluetooth is that you use little radios that communicate with a server in your house or office, which performs the backend function such as accessing the Internet, retrieving your files, etc. So, the goal is to put Bluetooth technology in everything (laptops, cell phones, printers) so that you never need to have wires again.

KEVINOSAR: So instead of using coaxial cable or Ethernet, Bluetooth should replace all of these?

TIM LEE: Yes, Bluetooth wants to replace all that so you do everything over wireless technology.

NAMASTE: I'm very interested in this, although it doesn't seem to be for enterprises. Am I right?

TIM LEE: Bluetooth is very much for the enterprise as it is also for the home. For example, imagine bringing your laptop to work and the moment you enter your office, your laptop is on the network. You can begin printing and accessing other computers. Best of all, you can get Internet access without dealing with cable.

NAMASTE: Not having all that spaghetti will really be a relief.

KEVINOSAR: What's the advantage of Bluetooth over Ethernet or T1?

TIM LEE: Bluetooth doesn't want to replace T1 or Ethernet. You'll always need that stuff as the backbone of the network. Bluetooth seeks to replace the "frontlines" of the network.

NAMASTE: Will Bluetooth be using TCP/IP to do this?

TIM LEE: Bluetooth will not be using TCP/IP, but its own protocol.

EARMSBY: Is this being implemented yet, or just in the planning stages?

TIM LEE: It's beginning to be used by manufacturers such as Nokia, and plans are in place for it to be implemented into Dell laptops.

KEVINOSAR: So there will be a basic network and then allow components access to it based on proximity?

TIM LEE: Yes, that's correct.

NAMASTE: So this will not be an OS type of service? Otherwise, how will Dell implement it?

TIM LEE: No, it won't be an OS. Rather, it'll be a standard. So, all Dell has to do to implement it is to install these modules into their laptops. There's only one type of module because it's a simple radio transceiver. These little modules cost $15-20 now but will soon cost only $5 in mass production.

The inner workings of Bluetooth
EARMSBY: Can you tell us a bit more about how Bluetooth actually works?

TIM LEE: The basic building blocks of Bluetooth are little cheap modules that can transmit and receive radio frequencies. These talk to transceivers that are connected to a server. In cases where you need more range, the use of repeaters can extend your signal. Some versions of Bluetooth will only be able to support 1mbps, but it will soon approach 10mbps.

KEVINOSAR: That's about the same as a SCSI, isn't it?

NAMASTE: Will Bluetooth ever get to 100Mbps?

TIM LEE: Probably as new technology for repeaters and transmitters is developed. Imagine that your cell phone may one day control your TV, your lights, and your stove.

EARMSBY: At the beginning, you said this was a consortium. Who is behind Bluetooth?

TIM LEE: Companies such as Nokia, Motorola, Compaq, Dell, etc.

The Bluetooth market
EARMSBY: Is this mainly for laptops and handhelds or will it be used with desktops also?

TIM LEE: It will be on both desktops and notebooks. The fewer wires, the merrier.

Security concerns
EARMSBY: What about security? If our lights and stove are on a computer network, aren't they vulnerable?

TIM LEE: Encryption will protect your privacy. For more information, check out www.bluetooth.org.

Bluetooth’s emergence
EARMSBY: How soon do you think we'll see this become a standard?

TIM LEE: By the end of the year, we will be seeing products with the first generation of Bluetooth technology. Watch for products from Nokia. Watch for products from Dell by the end of the year, too.

Thanks for coming
KEVINOSAR: It's been a pleasure chatting. Thanks, Tim, for stopping by.

EARMSBY: Wow, very interesting. Thanks, Tim.

TIM LEE: Ok, bye all. I'm doing another chat in August about Linux and laptops.

MODERATOR: We'll look forward to it!

TIM LEE: Thanks moderator for your time.

MODERATOR: You are very welcome.
Our Guild Meetings feature top-flight professionals leading discussions on interesting and valuable IT issues. You can find a schedule of Guild Meetings in your weekly TechProGuild Notes TechMail, or on the Guild Meeting calendar.

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