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Bluetooth Networking for your Palm, Pocket PC and Computer
Posted September 2004 by Tanker Bob

IOGEAR GBU201 Bluetooth USB Adapter

IOGEAR sells a number of quality IO components, including USB 2.0 and Firewire cards, as well as Bluetooth PCMCIA and USB adapters. Retailing at $39.95, you can find it for much less at many Internet retailers. In addition to the Class 2 GBU201 Bluetooth to USB adapter with about a 66 foot (20 meter) range, IOGEAR makes a Class 1 GBU301 adapter with a 330 foot (100 meter) range.

The IOGEAR GBU201 meets the usual USB 1.1 and Bluetooth 1.1 standards, and transfers data at a theoretical 723 kbps. It works fine in USB 2.0 ports that sport backward compatibility. Cambridge Silicon Radio makes the Class 2 radio chipset in the GBU-201, which will also communicate freely with Class 1 and Class 3 devices. The setup has built-in security, encryption, and authentication to protect your data, requiring a pass code at each connection if the connecting devices aren’t paired by the user.

The GBU201 adapter comes with a driver CD (PC and Mac compatible) and a fold-out installation instruction sheet. Installation could hardly be easier. Just follow the steps in order, and you’ll be Bluetoothing in just a few minutes. It installed on my WinXP Pro SP1 box in a jiffy. The drivers on the CD come from WIDCOMM. If you desire, updated drivers can be found from IBM here. I was able to HotSync my T3 via BT immediately after installing the GBU-201 and setting up my T3 and PC HotSync for the BT connection.

Once installed, you’ll have a new desktop location like Network Places called Bluetooth Places. If you have a Bluetooth PDA, printer, mouse, keyboard, or other peripheral, searching for all devices in range will reveal these if they are powered up and set to be discoverable. You can then pair with them as trusted devices so that they are readily available. The installation creates a virtual Bluetooth network connection under Network Places. Setting up a network between your PDA and PC or Mac can be tricky, but help may be found here on PDABuyersGuide, and also at Whizoo and Jon’s Guides. The Bluetooth network connection works like any other network connection, using the same services like TCP/IP, etc. The system tray BT icon (and BT Places icon) changes from white center to green when networked. If you wish to use Windows Internet Connection Sharing, make sure that you enable it for the adapter that actually connects to the Internet, NOT the Bluetooth connection.

The only problem I found with this adapter concerned its width. It wouldn’t fit in my recessed front USB ports. I had to move my UPS serial connector to COM2 so that the adapter would set in my remaining USB port on the back. If you have a USB adapter card with its ports arrayed vertically, this adapter may eat two of them depending on the port spacing. You can work around this issue by getting an extension dongle. Simply changing a serial connection worked for me.

The IOGEAR GBU201 worked right out of the box as advertised. I had no problems following the outstanding installation instructions, and was up and running in a few minutes. Overall performance has been very good. The theoretical Class 2 range of around 66 feet proved more than sufficient for home office use. If you seek a USB Bluetooth adapter that sets up easily and works like a champ, this IOGEAR offering will fill your need.

Web site: IOGEAR GBU201
Price: $39.95 USD Retail



IOGEAR Bluetooth USB adapter


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