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1/4/2011
09:19 AM
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Bye-Bye Bluetooth?

Since 1994, Bluetooth has provided users with a simple way to send information over short distance, wireless connections. However, the standard's future could be usurped, according to market research firm In-Stat.

Since 1994, Bluetooth has provided users with a simple way to send information over short distance, wireless connections. However, the standard's future could be usurped, according to market research firm In-Stat.Telecom vendor Ericsson created Bluetooth as a personal area network (PAN)protocol in 1994. Through the years, the protocol has been adopted in millions of devices. Consequently, vendors have periodically enhanced the protocol. The latest release, High-Speed Bluetooth or Bluetooth 3.0, runs at speeds up to 24M bps by melding traditional Bluetooth techniques with Wi-Fi.

However, the Wi-Fi Alliance has designed Wi-Fi Direct, which supports peer-to-peer connections among Wi-Fi devices. In-Stat predicted that Wi-Fi Direct' acceptance could eliminate the need for Bluetooth 3.0 altogether. In fact, Wi-Fi connections are becoming standard in many Bluetooth target devices, such as smartphones, so the emergence of Wi-Fi Direct diminishes the need for Bluetooth 3.0 among business users. However, the network protocol may continue to be popular in the gaming market: it is commonly used on game consoles and game controllers.

The implications for small and medium businesses from these changes are clear. To date, many have had trouble making sure that employees do not compromise corporate data by sending information over Bluetooth connections. With Wi-Fi Direct functions making their way onto many smartphones, IT departments may decide to turn off their employees' Bluetooth capabilities altogether.

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