High-bandwidth Bluetooth 3.0 expected for April 21

Posted by Wolfgang Gruener

Chicago (IL) – It seems we may be getting a much faster Bluetooth technology soon. Previously called Bluetooth UWB, the new Bluetooth 3.0 is expected to be at least 18 times faster that the current 2.0 + EDR version. In fact, it may be fast enough to be described as a broadband connection and it may have a shot to be integrated in consumer electronics devices to transfer media files.

As a wireless data transfer technology Bluetooth has always remained in the shadow of Wi-Fi and is limited today to applications such as Bluetooth headsets. For more serious personal area network (PAN) connections which would have enabled, for example, the transfer of image files from digital cameras to a PC, it was generally concluded that the bandwidth for Bluetooth was simply not enough. This scenario, however, could change as it is rumored that the new Bluetooth 3.0 will rival the bandwidth of Wireless USB and will outpace Wi-Fi.
 
Dvice today reported that Bluetooth 3.0 may be unveiled on April 21 by the Bluetooth SIG, the industry group behind the development of the Bluetooth standard. The Bluetooth SIG is led by Ericsson as well as nine main promoters.

While there were no further details about Bluetooth 3.0 release, we expect the spinal spec to follow the previously disclosed information. Back in May 2005, the Bluetooth SIG said that it was working on a “high data rate” version of Bluetooth that was based on UWB technology. This new Bluetooth technology was described as using a traditional 2.4 GHz radio as well as an additional 8 GHz UWB radio.

While Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR tops out at a peak data rate of 3 Mb/s for connections with a distance of less than 6 ft, Bluetooth 3.0 is rumored to hit data rates of up to 480 Mb/s, which would be comparable to Wireless USB, over the same distance. And even over distances between 6ft and 30ft, the data rate is described to be at least 53.3 Mb/s and more likely to be in the range of about 100 Mb/s.
 
We have no idea how compelling this speed increase will be in the end and when Bluetooth 3.0 will make its way into actual products (unlikely before 2010). But if you imagine your smartphone creating pictures with a size of more than 1 MB and if you imagine a capability to transfer music files at a speed of 60 Megabytes per second, then this is truly a technology to look forward to.