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Bluetooth Networking for your Palm, Pocket PC and Computer
Posted July 31, 2003 by Lisa Gade, Editor-in-Chief

Asanté FriendlyNet Bluetooth USB Adapter FBT100

As Bluetooth enabled portable devices proliferate, a good number of well known networking hardware companies are jumping into the USB Bluetooth adapter space. Asanté, an established player in the Mac networking arena and in the general networking arena (Ethernet hubs, switches and cards) now offers a USB Bluetooth dongle that works well in Windows and Mac OS X. The adapter is reasonably priced at $45US, and you'll find it for less at places like

The FriendlyNet Bluetooth adapter is a USB 1.1 device that will work on USB 1.1. and 2.0-equipped computers, and it has a maximum transfer rate of 723kbps. The radio is a class 2 unit that should have a range of ~ 30 feet and uses the Cambridge Silicon Radio BlueCore2 chipset. Inside you'll find a CD with a PDF manual covering Mac and Windows installation, setup and use. Drivers for Windows 98SE/ME/2000 are on the CD, and drivers aren't required for Mac OX 10.2 (Jaguar) or Windows XP.

Using Bluetooth on a PC

The FriendlyNet Bluetooth adapter uses Widcomm software for Windows, as do many other adapters. Once installation is complete, you'll see a "My Bluetooth Places" icon on your desktop and a Bluetooth icon in your system tray. Right-click on the system tray icon to Explore BT devices, configure your setup and start BT communications with devices you've already discovered. The configuration program is a multi-tabbed interface that allows to set security, filter which devices can communicate with your desktop/notebook, setup fax and dial-up networking services, file sharing and assign serial ports to legacy devices.

Asante FriendlyNet Bluetooth  USB adapter

Once you've discovered your devices, you can right-click on the system tray icon and use the "Services" hierarchical menu to quickly start LAN Networking (if you have a BT access point), file transfer, fax, dialup networking and etc.. The "My Bluetooth Places" on the desktop works like Network Neighborhood, but instead shows you BT devices in range, allows you to explore for new devices and add them to your "neighborhood". These tools are very user-friendly. You'll also notice that Windows creates a new LAN connection with the network card listed as Bluetooth LAN Access Server Driver. It runs the same protocols as most commonly configured Ethernet cards: Client for MS Networks, File and Printer Sharing, TCP/IP and NetBUI.

The adapter works well for ActiveSync (remember to set ActiveSync on the desktop to include the FriendlyNet's serial port under Connection Settings), and with Palm Desktop HotSyncing.

On the Mac, simply plug in the adapter, and you're ready to use Mac OS X's Bluetooth control panel to start making connections to Bluetooth devices. The adapter worked well syncing to Palm PDAs with Bluetooth and with the ENR Tech Bluetooth 56k dialup modem.

Asanté, $45 US List Price





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