3Com offers Bluetooth wireless printing kit

A Bluetooth printing kit introduced Monday by 3Com will let users hook up to existing local printers without using cables or getting on a LAN.

Bluetooth is a short-range wireless communication technology designed primarily as a replacement for cables and infrared links between devices. Bluetooth devices can communicate at speeds under 1M bps (bits per second) at a range of up to 10 meters.

The kit from 3Com includes a Bluetooth adapter that plugs into a printer's parallel port, and another Bluetooth adapter that connects to a desktop or notebook PC via USB (Universal Serial Bus), said Troy Holtby, a product manager at 3Com, in Santa Clara, California. The kit is shipping now for a list price of US$250. Additional USB and PC Card Bluetooth adapters can be purchased for a list price of $149 each. Future kits may include other combinations of parallel-port, USB and PC Card adapters, Holtby said.

With Bluetooth, users or workgroups with multiple printers can connect to all of them without moving wires, Holtby said. In an office, visiting employees could use a local printer without having to be set up as clients on a wired or wireless LAN, he added. Users can discover and connect to nearby Bluetooth devices easily through an intuitive interface, he said.

The software and firmware of the devices can be upgraded for the addition of new, downloadable features, according to a 3Com statement.

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