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IT: device to device communication
IT: device to device communication

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5.4 Set-up, maintenance and power requirements

Issues for set-up and maintenance include:

  • Cost (what are the costs of setting up and maintaining the technology?)

  • Availability of components (are components readily available?)

  • Interoperability (will devices from different vendors work together?)

  • Continuity of supply (will components still be available for a reasonable period in the future?)

Because of its greater range and complexity, a WiFi network is more expensive to set up and maintain than a Bluetooth network. WiFi and Bluetooth standards are both open, so all devices that follow the standard should interoperate. The open standard is likely to have a positive influence on the take-up of the technology, and consequently on both current and future availability of components and their cost.

You may remember I started my discussion of wireless technologies in Section 4 by reminiscing about my parents' term 'wireless' to describe a device that very clearly needed a cabled connection. It's easy to forget that wireless devices still need a power source to provide them with the energy to operate. For some devices (like my parents' 'wireless') this can be provided by a cabled connection to an electrical power socket. Other devices, like laptop computers and PDAs, are intended to be moved from place to place and not 'tethered' by a cable to an electricity supply. For these, battery power is the answer. Devices with low power requirements mean that small batteries can be used or that operating time can be extended. WiFi is more 'power hungry' than Bluetooth and so will drain a battery much faster.