Alternative solutions

By Mark Hachman  |  Posted 2002-12-12 Print this article Print

"Alternative" Bluetooth solutions are also beginning to crop up. Some Bluetooth proponents have sought to address power consumption issues by aligning itself with Zigbee, a technology involving low data rate and low power consumption wireless networking. The alliance created the 802.15.4 standard, dubbing Zigbee the commercial name. Zigbee has a very long battery life and 802.15.4 link rates, and is powered by a primary rechargeable cell. Want a wireless "Clapper"? ZigBee could be the basis for it.
"In contrast, Bluetooth requires an adapter to be recharged in the night. I can see a lot of application spaces opening up for Bluetooth and Zigbee combination technology – in industrial control systems, sensor nets and medical applications," TDKs Hunn said.
On the other hand, WiMedia was designed for short-range multimedia solutions. "No previous multimedia standard was optimized for wireless," Bob Heile, chairman of the IEEE 802.15.2, Co-existence task groups and chief technical officer at Appairent Technologies. The WiMedia draft standard calls for 55 Mbits/s in an unlicensed 2.4-GHz unlicensed band, over about a 50-meter distance, he said.The WiMedia Alliance consists of Appairent Technologies, Inc.; Eastman Kodak Company; HP; Motorola, Inc.; Royal Philips Electronics; Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.; Sharp Laboratories of America, Inc.; Time Domain Corporation; and XtremeSpectrum, Inc. The adoption of Bluetooth technology is also dependent on the availability of compelling solutions to users needs. Widespread adoption would have to go beyond the coolness factor – the "look what Ive got" appeal that Bluetooth providers highlight in customer handouts. Success will boil down to market dynamics: what works and what doesnt will depend on cost. "Wi-Fi is cheaper in the short term," Heile said. "But in the long term it is cheaper to implement Bluetooth because currently you can put more products into the range without affecting your power supply. With PDAs on Wi-Fis you get huge battery costs. Also, in the long term, implementation of technology gets cheaper for Bluetooth because so many companies are continuing research."


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