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  1.    #1  
    I was wondering: If I have WLAN, what do I need Bluetooth for?

    Since Bluetooth is only short range, and WLAN can cover significant distances, would it not make more sense to connect devices (like Treo "700") with WLAN and forget about Bluetooth? WLAN will be/is a standard in laptops, home networks, there are many public WLAN hotspots, so why have Bluetooth in addition? I have a USB WLAN connector the size of a small lighter, so I don't think size is an issue.

    Is there anything I can do with Bluethooth that cannot be done (in priciple) with WLAN?
  2. #2  
    One common use of Bluetooth in cell phones is the Bluetooth headset. It allows you to answer your cell phone while still on your hip, in your pocket, in your briefcase/suitecase/backpack all with the touch of a button on the headset. Wireless (802.11a/b/g) technology doesn't exist for headsets.

    Other uses exist as well that are better suited for BT. You can search the web or this board for many other choices.

    I hope this helps!!!
  3.    #3  
    Originally posted by RawData
    One common use of Bluetooth in cell phones is the Bluetooth headset. It allows you to answer your cell phone while still on your hip, in your pocket, in your briefcase/suitecase/backpack all with the touch of a button on the headset. Wireless (802.11a/b/g) technology doesn't exist for headsets.

    Other uses exist as well that are better suited for BT. You can search the web or this board for many other choices.

    I hope this helps!!!
    I am aware of the fact that in many cases there are BT devices available for which there is no WLAN solution. My questions was a more technical one: are there technical limits to WLAN, e.g. would there be a good reason why a WLAN headset or hotsyncing via WLAN (e.g. Laptop to WLAN smartphone) would not work well or be too expensive? Personally, I don't think so, that's why I suggest we forget BT and go for WLAN directly...
  4. #4  
    Bluetooth is the "betamax" of the hand-held world. Bluetooth will be forgotten in a year.... Ok maybe two.
  5. #5  
    Originally posted by clulup
    I was wondering: If I have WLAN, what do I need Bluetooth for?

    Since Bluetooth is only short range, and WLAN can cover significant distances, would it not make more sense to connect devices (like Treo "700") with WLAN and forget about Bluetooth? WLAN will be/is a standard in laptops, home networks, there are many public WLAN hotspots, so why have Bluetooth in addition? I have a USB WLAN connector the size of a small lighter, so I don't think size is an issue.

    Is there anything I can do with Bluethooth that cannot be done (in priciple) with WLAN?
    A lot of people make this comparison but really it's a case of comparing apples and oranges. It's a little like saying, "if I have ethernet, what do I need USB for?" Bluetooth may be technically a networking technology but in reality it is more of a way to connect wireless perpherals to your PDA and/or desktop. So while you might connect your PDA to your Wi-Fi network, you would still in theory want or need Bluetooth for conecting it to the other wireless gadgets on your person. Or do you really want to configure an IP address for your phone's wireless headset? You could probably do this if Wi-Fi headsets existed, but do you want to?

    While right now, wireless phone headsets are the main Bluetooth application, you could theoretically also use Bluetooth to access and control a Bluetooth compatible camera or MP3 player. I imagine that you might position your Bluetooth camera in front of a group of people for a group shot, walk over to the group and make final adjustments to the shot with your Bluetooth enabled PDA so you'll appear in the group shot. Then, you'd view your pictures through the Bluetooth connection and use the PDA to e-mail them -- either by using the PDA itself if it has GPRS or if it's on a WLAN or through a Bluetooth phone.

    Similarly, you could probably use your PDA to control a Bluetooth enabled MP3 player which would remain in your pocket while you use your PDA as an interface to it. When you consider the fact that the best MP3 players have gigabytes of storage vs SD cards whose storage is typically measured in megabytes, the appeal of such a setup becomes more apparent.

    Suppose you're reading e-book on your Treo 700b. You're also listening to music on your iPod 700b. Suddenly, you read a passage that reminds you of a specific tune. Do you: A) Put down your Treo and fish around in your pockets for the iPod so you can find the tune? Or do you: B) Use the Bullet Train launcher to bring up the iPod Remote Control application to look up the tune without ever reaching for your iPod or putting down you Treo? If the "b" in the names of both devices doesn't stand for Bluetooth, you will likely wind up doing A. This is the sort of usage that Bluetooth is supposed to enable someday.


    You could probably do all this with Wi-Fi as well but would you want to? Setting up Wi-Fi devices will always have an inherent complexity which theoretically, Bluetooth devices won't once the technology matures. And there's the rub. Zurich makes a good point when he compares Bluetooth to Beta. Will the technology grow popular enough to really be useful? We don't know but it would seem to be the only option out there that fulfills this particular niche without being particularly complicated. I don't see people selling Wi-Fi headsets for phones any time soon.
    Last edited by DarthRepublican; 09/25/2003 at 07:07 AM.
  6.    #6  
    Originally posted by DarthRepublican
    Or do you really want to configure an IP address for your phone's wireless headset? You could probably do this if Wi-Fi headsets existed, but do you want to?
    Sure, why not? With DHCP it is even done automatically.

    You could probably do all this with Wi-Fi as well but would you want to? Setting up Wi-Fi devices will always have an inherent complexity which theoretically, Bluetooth devices won't once the technology matures.
    Using Wi-Fi will also become more easy in the future, it is even easy now, after all I set up a WLAN home network without any problems. Public WLAN networks are already very popular, at least here in Switzerland, where you can surf the internet wirelessly at a very high speed for about US$ 50 per month (unlimited data). Since most laptops and also other devices will have WLAN anyway, I think bluetooth will become obsolete, at least I hope so, because then I would not need bluetooth AND WLAN.
    I don't see people selling Wi-Fi headsets for phones any time soon.
    Probably not, but it would be a useful thing to have because you can replace bluetooth with WLAN, but not opposite.
  7. KKenna's Avatar
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    #7  
    And what device will be the DHCP server on your PAN (Personal Area Network) ? The technologies have only the "wireless" in common. They are designed to do completely different things. Bluetooth was designed as a topology to interconnect a few peripheral devices. Sorta to replace all the wires that go between your PC, handheld, keyboard, mouse, headset... Wi-Fi (more commponly know as 802.11a/b/g), was designed to replace the wiring used in creating traditional LAN (or Local Area Networks). You would never use one in place of the other. Each have their mission. Yes, I can get a Wi-Fi card to connect me to my ethernet LAN, and there are several devices to allow you to use Bluetooth to connect you to an ethernet LAN as well, but the difference is that you still have an underlying 802.11 LAN in place. Your whole network is not Bluetooth. Only the wire that connects you to the LAN has been replaced.

    Bluetooth's problem is that the industry heavyweights can't seem to arrive at a standard. If they had done this years ago as promised, you would see a Bluethoth chip in gust about everything that uses electricity and requires an interface.
  8.    #8  
    Originally posted by KKenna
    And what device will be the DHCP server on your PAN (Personal Area Network) ? The technologies have only the "wireless" in common. They are designed to do completely different things. Bluetooth was designed as a topology to interconnect a few peripheral devices. Sorta to replace all the wires that go between your PC, handheld, keyboard, mouse, headset... Wi-Fi (more commponly know as 802.11a/b/g), was designed to replace the wiring used in creating traditional LAN (or Local Area Networks). You would never use one in place of the other. Each have their mission. Yes, I can get a Wi-Fi card to connect me to my ethernet LAN, and there are several devices to allow you to use Bluetooth to connect you to an ethernet LAN as well, but the difference is that you still have an underlying 802.11 LAN in place. Your whole network is not Bluetooth. Only the wire that connects you to the LAN has been replaced.

    Bluetooth's problem is that the industry heavyweights can't seem to arrive at a standard. If they had done this years ago as promised, you would see a Bluethoth chip in gust about everything that uses electricity and requires an interface.
    I guess the problem of giving an IP address to e.g. a headset can be solved. It would just be a sort of a private network in a public one. I still cannot see why WLAN should not make bluetooth obsolete. I can e.g. easily make USB obsolete for my printers, modems, etc. by using ethernet connections instead. Why should that not work for e.g. headsets? I am also quite sure that before long also the stereo, the DVD recorder (including hard drive) for the TV and the home cinema system will communicate with the desktop via WLAN.
  9. #9  
    The power of 802.11 works against you in a couple of ways - first off, the increased radio range requires more power, thus your charge goes away faster. The other problem is that you're going to be more prone to interference from other WiFi devices (and other 2.4Ghz equipment)

    There's also the security issue - wouldn't it kind of stink to have to worry about anyone within a 200m radius chipping away at whatever protection mechanisms you might have in place? 5m is a much more manageable distance.

    The vision of BT is pretty cool. No more wires for all the little devices you might want to have talking to one another. The reality isn't there yet.
    -Jim
    PS: Who would want to set up the infrastructure to assign private IPs to a smattering of devices? Who renumbers if you want to tap into a pal's device? Not everyone aspires to be a network admin!

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