Bluetooth 1.2 on doorstep

From the Bluetooth World Congress, being held this week in Amsterdam, the Bluetooth Special Interests Group (SIG) today announced that version1.2 of the Bluetooth Specification is in its final testing phases. The new version of the increasingly popular standard is backwards compatible with the existing v1.1 specification and includes manynew features which the SIG claims will improve reliability and performance.

New features in version 1.2 of the specification address security, co-existence with 802.11 systems, enhanced voice processing, user setup and improved quality of service. Designed with a view towarda more positive user experience, the new version is backwards compatible with the over 1,000 products in which the current specification is included, but also aims to enable development of a growingnumber of mainstream products such as mobile phones, headsets, PDAs, MP3 players, cameras and laptops in a consumer’s Personal Area Network.

One important feature of the new specification is Adaptive Frequency Hopping (AFH), explicitly designed to reduce interference between wireless technologies sharing the 2.4 GHz spectrum. Cordlesstelephones, microwave ovens and certain Wireless Local Area Networking (WLAN) technologies including IEEE 802.11b generally share the same wireless frequencies as Bluetooth wireless technology, andAFH works within the spectrum to take advantage of the available frequencies without limiting the Bluetooth transmission to a set of frequencies occupied by other technologies.

Such ‘adaptive hopping’ aims to allow for more efficient transmission within the spectrum, thereby benefiting end users with greater performance, even if using other technologies along with theBluetooth wireless technology.

Other features of the new version include enhanced Voice Processing, which aims to improve the quality of voice connections, particularly in noisy environments, using error detection methodologiesand enhanced Quality of Service (QOS), which will increase the performance of multi-point implementations where one radio can service more than one client at one time with better traffic managementscheduling.

Also, an anonymity Mode has been added to bolster the security of Bluetooth wireless connections by masking the physical address of a radio so as to prevent identity attacks and snooping.

The Bluetooth SIG today also announced the availability of Implementation Guides that recommend usage and product features for fast-moving markets including mobile phones and personal computers.Following a period of feedback from Associate members of the Bluetooth SIG, these guides will be publicly available on the trade association’s web site.

Implementation guides are key among over a dozen programs currently underway by the SIG to work toward the goal of a five-minute out-of-the-box experience. Based on feedback from Bluetooth members,Bluetooth SIG’s implementation guides specify standard profiles and optional features to enhance interoperability for current and future implementation requirements. The guides are backed by earlycontributions from many mobile phone manufacturers including Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Motorola, and Siemens, as well as companies including Intel, Microsoft, IBM and Toshiba.