Companies to Show Bluetooth, WLAN Coexistence

By Matthew Peretz

November 29, 2001

Can't we all just get along? Well, if these two companies are right, at least Bluetooth and 802.11b will be able to thrive and coexist.

Bandspeed, Inc. and Open Interface North America announced Tuesday their new product which uses Adaptive Frequency Hopping (AFH) technology to allow Bluetooth devices to coexist with Wireless LANs. This would be particularly applicable to deployments in and around 802.11b WLANs, which dysfunctionally shares the 2.4 Ghz band with Bluetooth.

The solution will be unveiled at the 2001 Bluetooth Developers Conference, which begins Dec. 11 in San Francisco. It is based on Bandspeed's AFH HubMaster technology and Open Interface's BlueMagic AFH protocol stack.

Bandspeed stated that its AFH technology enables the 'non-collaberative' coexistence of Bluetooth-enabled devices with WLANs, such as those using 802.11b technology. Bandspeed's chipset used in conjunction with Open Interface's BlueMagic protocol stack is designed to provide a coexistence solution for hardware manufacturers and OEMs. BlueMagi AFH is backwards compatible with Open Interface's Bluetooth spec version 1.1 and works with existing Bluetooth wireless devices.

Any solution to the interference issues that exist between the two technologies could provide a boost to the adoption of both. While WLAN technology has already been widely accepted in both the enterprise and SOHO markets, Bluetooth has suffered from a rash of negative publicity painting it is a potentially interfering nuisance to its faster, albeit pricier cousin. The resolution of some of these interference issues could clear the way for the co-existance of these two wireless technolgies with overlapping, yet differing applications and uses. Bluetooth could then thrive as the Personal Area Network technology that it was meant to be in the first place, offering cheaper wireless connectivity for functions more related to end-user interaction with devices and terminals than WLANs strength as a wired Ethernet replacement technology.

Matthew Peretz is Managing Editor of 802.11-Planet.com



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