Bluetooth via Wi-Fi

Bluetooth via Wi-Fi. 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. 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.

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.

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.