Apple has made plans to enter the world of Bluetooth, a short-range wireless networking protocol that’s picking up steam. And D-Link — a company that designs, develops, and manufactures networking, data communications, and digital electronic technologies — is making a Mac compatible Bluetooth device. These facts were already known, revealed to Mac users at last week’s Macworld Expo Tokyo. But today D-Link offered more details about the DWB-120M device that Mac users will soon be able to add to their USB-equipped systems.
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The D-Link DWB-120M is a compact Bluetooth USB wireless network adapter designed specifically for using the Mac, with short-range wireless connections to digital devices. It lets any Apple system with a USB port and running Mac OS X 10.1.3 or later to create connections to other Bluetooth-enabled devices to exchange data.
The DWB-120M talks with PDAs, printers, cellular phones, digital cameras, and other emerging electronic devices, according to Steven Joe, President of D-Link. The D-Link DWB-120M enables synchronization and downloads at data rates of up to 1 Megabit per second between Bluetooth-enabled devices with a range of up to 33 feet.
In case you’re keeping score, Apple’s Wi-Fi-compliant AirPort technology — which supports the IEEE 802.11b protocol — supports up to 11 Megabits per second at distances up to 150 feet.
So as you can see, Bluetooth is no replacement for wireless networking. Instead, Bluetooth is intended for much shorter distances and considerably smaller amounts of data, which is why the protocol is beginning to find converts amongst peripheral makers who see it as an appealing and less cluttered alternative to hard-wired USB cables. It’s doesn’t require a “line of sight” like the infrared technology found on PowerBook G4s, either.
The adapter will be available exclusively through the Apple Store beginning in early April for US$49 (you can place a pre-order now, if you wish). Apple’s free Bluetooth preview software for the D-Link DWB-120M will be available for download in April, too.