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Summary:

I love Bluetooth, but compared to a good WiFi connection, it’s lacking in speed and range. A new standard slated for April is about to dismiss the speed issue. No such luck on the range, but I’m still very impressed. Gizmodo shows a vid of the […]

logo-1I love Bluetooth, but compared to a good WiFi connection, it’s lacking in speed and range. A new standard slated for April is about to dismiss the speed issue. No such luck on the range, but I’m still very impressed.

Gizmodo shows a vid of the new and extremely clever “alternate MAC/PHY” spec from the Bluetooth SIG in action. Here’s how it works. Two Bluetooth-enabled devices pair up as usual. Data then is transferred over a WiFi layer at up to 54Mbps. Upon completion of the transfer, WiFi drops out of the equation and Bluetooth takes back control. Think of it like Bluetooth setting up a very short-term, specific purpose ad-hoc WiFi network.

The Bluetooth SIG expects this functionality to be used in cases like these:

  • Wirelessly bulk synchronize music libraries between PC and MP3 player
  • Bulk download photos to a printer or PC
  • Send video files from camera or phone to computer or television

The new spec should be useful for those times when your devices aren’t on the same wireless network: a quick Bluetooth pairing and you transfer data at WiFi speeds without having to jump through network setup hoops. Even better news: Broadcom told Giz that some of their current Bluetooth chips already support the spec, pending a software update.

  1. Isn’t this kind of like, coaxial over ethernet?

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  2. “The new spec should be useful for those times when your devices aren’t on the same wireless network: a quick Bluetooth pairing and you transfer data at WiFi speeds without having to jump through network setup hoops.”

    This doesn’t sound like a potential security nightmare.

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  3. Chris, since the session is managed by Bluetooth, it offers the same security as a standard Bluetooth connection. Since it’s likely to be used for short-term purposes, I’m not overly concerned from a security standpoint.

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  4. Yes, but it just provides another easy way to bridge. I could see somebody easily using this to provide un-authenticated access on our wireless for other users on an un-authenticated wireless network. Granted, they can do this today with other mechanisms, but this seems like something that could easily be misconfigured and end up being bad news. More of a “don’t attribute to malice what can be attributed to ignorance” point of view.

    Did I mention I’m a network engineer? :) chris

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