Networking for your Palm, Pocket PC and Computer by Lisa Gade,
1050AP Bluetooth Access Point Supporting
Bluetooth-enabled PCs and Macs, Pocket PCs and Palm OS PDAs
Red-M was one of the first players in
the Bluetooth access point space. Here in the US, they've been sold
on Palm's website, and now you can get them from retailers such as expansys.com.
The 1050AP is their latest access point and it sells for under $300,
making it more reasonable than first generation units. The unit has
a Class 1 Bluetooth radio with an impressive typical transmission power
of 10dBm, and supports transfer rates up to 1 Mbps within a claimed
100 meter (333 foot) range. It's a compact unit that measures approximately
6" x 6" x 1" and can be mounted on walls or ceilings.
The 1050AP has WAN (RJ45 Ethernet) in and out ports, a power port that
connects to the included transformer and one LED that lights solid
red when the unit is online. It supports the following Bluetooth profiles:
Generic Access, Service Discovery, Dial Up Networking & LAN Access,
PAN, and DHCP Client, DHCP relay agent, PPP, PPPoE, NAT, HTTP protocols.
Why consider the Red-M instead of the
very affordable Belkin access point? Both
support up to 7 simultaneous users, but the Red-M supports up to 32
users in its security list while the Belkin supports 8. In a work environment
where you're using security, you'll definitely appreciate this. The
Red-M has a slightly more powerful radio. The 1050AP has a WAN out
port which allows you to daisy chain several access points for coverage
over large sections of a building, and the Red-M offers more security
features. The Belkin is a great SoHo or home access point, while the
Red-M has features that enterprise users will fancy. If you're a network
administrator who needs telnet and SNMP administration options and/or
RADIUS accounting, look at the more pricey PicoBlue access
you can use the Red-M, you must plug it into your network and
go through the first time configuration screen. You can do
this using the included PC management application, or via a
PDA. If you attempt to connect to the Net using a Bluetooth
enabled PDA and an unconfigured Red-M as its access point,
you'll see the Red-M initial configuration screen after you've
launched your PDA's browser. I actually did the initial configuration
using an iPAQ 3970.
initial management screen is where you'll enter an administrative
password, specify whether the AP will use DHCP or static IP
addresses, and whether you want security turned on or off.
What if you want to use a non-Bluetooth enabled PC to do the
initial configuration? Since most folks use DHCP, you likely
won't know the IP address of the Red-M after you've plugged
it into your network. The management app for Windows will discover
all Red-M access points on your network and identify their
application is web based, and once you know the IP of your
1050AP, you can use a web browser to manage the access point
by entering in its IP address if you prefer. However the management
app is very handy if you need to manage multiple Red-M access
points, or if the IP of your Red-M has changed due to power
or network outages. The application allows you to name each
access point and has an "identify" feature which
will make the LED on the Red-M blink so you can be sure you're
working with the correct one.
you've completed the initial settings screen, you'll see the
screen shown to the right. It divides tasks into four groups:
Home, where you can see basic info such as hardware and software
versions; System, where you can change the access point's name,
turn on the identify feature, set it to Genos mode, restart
the unit or set it back to factory settings, change IP settings
and enable NAT and PPPoE; Bluetooth, where you can set authorization,
security keys, accessibility and whether it runs in Piconet
or Point to Point mode; and Users, where you can create a list
of users allowed to connect to the Red-M.
Red-M 1050AP access point. Below, main administration screen.
saves a list of devices that it has discovered, along with those devices'
Bluetooth class (i.e.: Phone, Computer) and service type(s) (i.e.:
telephony, object transfer). You can authorize devices in this list
and specify individual passkeys if you like. You can use NAT on the
Red-M's DHCP server for both Bluetooth devices and the WAN out port,
and you can even connect via PPPoE if your ISP requires this connection
method.If you forget the administrative password,
you can connect a CAT5 UTP cable from the WAN in to the WAN out jacks
and reset the unit to factory settings. As mentioned earlier, if you're
not sure that you're managing the correct access point, you can use
the "Identify" feature to make the access point's LED blink.
Lastly, if you're deploying several Red-M units, you can save a configuration
and copy it to other Red-M access points.
run the Red-M with security disabled if you wish to allow all Bluetooth
users within range to connect to the access point for network access.
Alternatively, you can set the 1050AP to use Bluetooth authentication,
set paired keys and specify whether the access point is discoverable
and/or connectable. These are global options, you can also specify
a paired key (passkey) for individual users and authorize connections
for selected devices individually. You can also create up to 32 users
which will authenticate using PPP protocol, each with their own user
names and passwords.
got a good number of Bluetooth devices that you need to get on the
network securely, the Red-M 1050AP will offer a lot of bang for the
buck with its support for 32 users. The radio broadcast strength is
quite strong, and I was able to maintain a connection using a Tungsten
T and iPAQ 3970 at distances up
to 50 feet through walls and floors. The security features are adequate
for most corporate environments and are more than most home users will