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AMPed Bluetooth ready for takeoff

Feb 20, 2009 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 5 views

A new technology combining the easy setup of Bluetooth with the high speed of WiFi will go on the market in April, reports say. AMP (alternate MAC/PHY) Bluetooth will apparently be compatible with some existing phones via a simple software upgrade.

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group SIG first announced its AMP revision to the Bluetooth specification in Feb. 2008. The technology targets devices that have both Bluetooth and WiFi (802.11) radios on board. It seeks to combine Bluetooth's ease of setup with 802.11's higher transfer rates.

AT&T's LG Incite
(Click image for further information)

The AMP specification was originally set for “mid-2009,” but will now reportedly be official in April. Meantime, AMP was demonstrated at this week's Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Spain using a Windows laptop and a Windows Mobile phone (see video later in this story). The phone appeared to be AT&T's recently introduced LG Incite (right), which, like the majority of contemporary phones, includes both Bluetooth and 802.11 networking.

AMP can hand off file transfers from Bluetooth to 802.11 and other radios
Source: Bluetooth SIG
(click to enlarge)

According to the Bluetooth SIG, AMP works by taking Bluetooth's protocols, profiles, security, and other architectural elements and allowing them to “jump on top of an already present 802.11 radio.” In other words, a pair of devices discover each other and shake hands using Bluetooth, but file transfers take place using the WiFi hardware layer.

AMP's promoters say the technology means users gain speed, without needing to know how to set up an ad hoc WiFi network. Once a file transfer is concluded, the WiFi radio falls silent and control passes back to Bluetooth, saving power, according to the SIG.

According to a report by Gizmodo, some current Broadcom chips already support AMP and will require only a software upgrade to implement it. While the chips weren't named, they may include the BCM4325, which combines 801.11a/b/g with Bluetooth and an FM receiver, and the similar BCM4329.

A demonstration of AMP at this week's Mobile World Congress
Source: Gizmodo
(click to play)

Further information

To read the Gizmodo item mentioned above, see here.

According to previous reports, the AMP technique will not be limited to 802.11b, but will also be able to piggyback on higher-bandwidth, shorter-range UWB (ultra-wideband) connections. For more details, see our earlier coverage, here.

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