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Which way should you jump Wireless (WIFI) or Bluetooth

Wireless USB Vs. Bluetooth

By Preston Wily

USB is currently the industry standard If you spend any amount of time on a computer chances are that you have used a USB device, such as a mouse or a keyboard. There are currently more than 2 billion USB devices in use around the world.

Cables can be a mess When USB first became popular (around the year 2000) everybody loved the technology and embraced it. It was so easy to use and offered inter-compatibility with virtually every PC.

As we became increasingly more reliant on USB for most of the devices that connected to our system the nest of cables behind the average computer continued to grow.

Enter Bluetooth Bluetooth was released a couple of years following the initial release of USB and grew in popularity because it offered computer users a way to connect precious devices to the computer without worrying about the tangle of wires behind the computer and the inevitable "creative" wiring options required to connect two computers and printers located across the room.

Bluetooth took off in Europe and Asia Bluetooth has become very popular in Europe and Asia. Not only is Bluetooth popular with computer users, but also cell phone users looking for a way to use a hands-free headset without worrying about hauling around another wire. For some reason the technology became very popular abroad, but many US computer and cell phone users had security concerns about the technology or were unimpressed with its relatively low speed for data-intensive applications.

We are on the verge of a revolution in connectivity Wireless USB offers the convenience of Bluetooth with the security and seamless integration of current USB technology. In addition, the first release of Wireless USB (aka WUSB) will allow you to use legacy USB devices wirelessly. Here's how it will work - you will plug a Wireless USB dongle into your desktop or laptop and then plug the Wireless USB hub into an external power supply - this could range from a few feet to several meters away. Then you could plug your USB devices into the Wireless USB hub and use them as if they were attached directly to your computer. This would be especially useful for a printer, scanner or any other device you might want to share with local computers but not necessarily over a network.

Differences between Bluetooth and Wireless USB The most obvious difference between Bluetooth and Wireless USB is the speed - empirically you will generally always see speeds less than 1 Mbps with Bluetooth. Wireless USB, on the other hand, is rated for 480 Mbps at 5 meters. Both technologies are slower at further distances, but Wireless USB should always be faster than Bluetooth. Another obvious difference between Bluetooth and Wireless USB is security - Bluetooth devices are highly susceptible to signal-hijacking where as the security standard for WUSB is very strict and should result in a much more secure connection - this is very important for any application which may require the transfer of sensitive data or information.

Time frame on Wireless USB Wireless USB dongles and hubs are currently in production and should be available for purchase in the first quarter of 2006. A few manufacturers have already received approval from the FCC and other standards organizations.

Is Wireless USB right for you If you can hold off a couple of months to try out a really cool wireless technology I highly recommend that you consider WUSB. It may take some time to refine the protocols and iron out a few bugs in the design but the wait should be well worth it.


About The Author

Preston Wily is a product development manager for Sewell Direct, an online retailer of hard-to-find USB adapters. Sewell Direct is currently establishing relationships with manufacturers of Wireless USB peripherals and devices and plans to offer these products as soon as they are available.

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Last Update: 14-Mar-2009

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You are here: Wireless or Bluetooth which one