Bluetooth™ wireless technology is finally here. Originally conceived as a low-power short-range radio technology designed to replace cables for interconnecting devices such as printers, keyboards, and mice, its perceived potential has evolved into far more sophisticated usage models. The requirement to do this in a totally automated, seamless, and user-friendly fashion, without adding appreciable cost, weight, or power drain to the associated host is an enormous engineering challenge.
Bluetooth devices can form piconets of up to seven slaves and one master, enabling discovery of services and subsequent implementation of many varied usage models including wireless headsets, Internet bridges, and wireless operations such as file exchange, data synchronization, and printing.Despite talk of Bluetooth competing with wireless LANs, Bluetooth products work over shorter distances and are designed to solve different problems.
The Bluetooth SIG publishes the Bluetooth specification. The IEEE has formed the 802.15 working group to define standards for wireless PANs. The 802.15.1 standard for WPAN™s will be modeled after the Bluetooth specification from the Bluetooth SIG. Microsoft® has announced support for Bluetooth in the next release of Windows® XP.
The waters of Bluetooth security have yet to be tested. However, the Bluetooth specification has a robust key management scheme built in, as well as upper layers of security. Bluetooth uses the national standard AES algorithm for encryption and the general consensus is that the options for Bluetooth security are strong and robust.