Fujitsu-Siemens B Series Bluetooth

Power notebook

Preview Fujitsu-Siemens will soon be updating its B Series range of laptops to incorporate Bluetooth functionality, available either as an option via USB or built-in. We looked at some early prototypes of the latter to see how they performed.

It's still early days for Bluetooth consumer devices, despite the fact that the technology has been in development for the last seven years. Most products are currently add-on devices – Bluetooth needs to be integrated before it will gain ground in the marketplace. Products like Ericsson's R520 and Fujitsu's new notebooks provide wireless functionality out of the box, making it an attractive proposition.

For Bluetooth devices to talk to one another, they have to be aware of each other's presence. Achieving this is straightforward – click Device Discovery from the Bluetooth control panel and a new device pops up in the list of devices. Once you've established a connection, the two machines negotiate to ascertain what service the other can offer. Clicking on the NDIS (Network Driver Interface Specification) protocol sets up a network connection between the two products. Communication between the two devices is done through Network Neighborhood, exactly as it would be on a wired network.

Transferring a 6.17MB file took 2 minutes 59 seconds, which equals a transfer rate of roughly 289Kbps. Although this may seem slow compared to a wired LAN, or even 802.11 wireless, it's not overly slow for the intended use.

The adoption of Bluetooth is very much a chicken and egg situation. Unless the functionality is integrated into devices, then there is little point integrating it into devices. Fujitsu's new notebooks are definitely a step in the right direction. ®

This review is taken from the August 2001 issue. All details correct at time of publication.

Copyright © 2001, IDG. All rights reserved.