Just recently, the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) announced that it will unveil the official upcoming Bluetooth 3.0 specification on Tuesday, April 21st, along with an announcement of the companies ready to roll out devices sporting the new standard.
The new specification has been long anticipated perhaps for its promise of ultra-fast wireless data transfer speeds. Yet interestingly enough, it has been revealed that this will be achieved through sending Bluetooth protocols, profiles, security and pairings through an additional 802.11n Wi-Fi radio present alongside the generic Bluetooth radio. In other words, The Bluetooth radio will still be used for device discovery, initial connection and profile configuration, however when lots of data needs to be sent, the high speed alternate 802.11n radio will be used to transport the data.
A Bluetooth SIG spokesman stated, "it is a Generic Alternate MAC/PHY (AMP) that will enable Bluetooth profiles to take advantage of 802.11 speeds. The 802.11 Protocol Adaption Layer (PAL) will enable the Generic AMP feature to be used with an 802.11 radio."
To put more clearly, the clever two-for-one design efficiently addresses the issue of backward compatibility by taking a classic Bluetooth connection "and allowing it to jump on top of the already present 802.11 radio, when necessary, to send bulky entertainment data faster," Bluetooth SIG Executive Director Michael Foley said last year.
In addition to rapid wireless transfer speeds, the 3.0 spec features a new Enhanced Power Control for wireless headset and handset users. According to the group, this will reduce the incidence of disconnects caused by movement such as placing a phone in a pocket or purse.
The ultimate goal of the Bluetooth SIG is to produce a 480Mbps wireless Bluetooth standard, which would allow it to favorably compete with the wired USB 3.0 standard operating at the same speeds. In 2006, the association began work on the ultra-wideband (UWB) technology from the WiMedia Alliance, and it continues to work on development of this technology for future use. However, in the meantime it intends to make immediate use of the IEEE standardized 802.11 radio which has held a strong track record over the past decade.
"We're committed to speedy wireless personal area network connections, and we'll always be looking for the best near-term and long-term way to accomplish that," Foley said. "The greatness of a generic alternate radio architecture being developed is that it's adaptable."