This month we have a number of articles covering wireless connectivity encompassing both Bluetooth and IEEE802.11. This sector seems to be one which loves to get embroiled in back-biting. The promoters of the different wireless technologies are quick to point out the deficiencies in the competition – be it features or availability.
And the conflict is not restricted to the opposing camps. In a recent article (Communications Systems Design – March – www.csdmag.com) Larry Mittag, vice-president and chief technology officer at wireless developer Stellcom, stirred up the different factions in the IEEE802.11 arena by asserting that the “delaying tactics of the IEEE802.11g proponents will not prevent the march of IEEE802.11a WLANs”. He complained that the slow speed at which the 802.11g standard was developed meant that OEMs who wanted to get on with developing products were happy to go the 802.11a route and not for the 802.11b products that held out a migration path to 802.11g. He went as far to say that the “real role of the 802.11g in this debate is to introduce FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) into the acceptance of 802.11a”.
The problem partly stems from the numbering scheme used by the IEEE which leaves developers having to explain why 802.11a is actually faster and newer than 802.11b and how 802.11g somehow fits in between the two.
Mittag is right, when he says “I can just imagine the confusion felt by someone who just wants to buy something that works with other products and won't be obsolete before he gets it home.”
In this issue (page 15) we seem to be adding, and widening, this debate as a representative of the Bluetooth camp puts a proposal that their technology has still got a lot of life left in it and is the solution for a variety of devices in the consumer sector and even predicts that there will be dual-purpose Bluetooth and 802.11b capability in some business equipment.
Published in Embedded Systems (Europe) May 2002)