Skip to main content

Bluetooth Moving to 60 GHz?

While wireless carriers are looking at lower frequencies (within the UHF TV band) for expansion, the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) may be looking at higher frequencies--much higher frequencies.

I found several articles this week stating the SIG is looking at a new version of its popular 2.4 GHz wireless technology that would use frequencies in the 60 GHz range to offer gigabit per second speeds.

EETimes, in its article Bluetooth backers explore 60 GHz future said the group had hoped to make a decision about the higher frequencies at its meeting in Seattle this week, but due to the shutdown in European air travel in connection with the volcano in Iceland, many members were not able to attend the meeting.

"The current proposal is to assign a small group to drive the investigation and report back and I wouldn't be surprised if that is accepted this week," said Mike Foley, Bluetooth SIG executive director.

The 60 GHz standard would likely be based on existing work by the Wireless Gigabit Alliance and the Wireless HD Consortium.

On Monday the SIG released more information about Bluetooth Core Specification Version 4.0. This specification has a low power mode that allows Bluetooth to be used in button-cell devices like watches.

"Bluetooth v4.0 throws open the doors to a host of new markets for Bluetooth manufacturers and products such as watches, remote controls, and a variety of medical and in-home sensors," said Foley. "Many of these products run on button-cell batteries that must last for years, versus hours, and will also benefit from the longer range enabled by this new version of the Bluetooth specification."

In addition to the low power mode, Bluetooth 4.0 also supports the classic specification and offers a high speed option. Devices could switch modes, using the low power mode for sensing in pedometers or glucose monitors and, when needed, the classic mode to send that information to a PC.

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. He has been with NBC since 1985 and is currently vice president of broadcast technology for NBC/Telemundo stations.