If you worked in an office during the 1980s, you may remember the promises of “the paperless office.” This slogan never caught on with paper and printer manufacturers, of course, but plenty of others waited breathlessly. They are still waiting. However, we have advanced to “the wireless office” – almost.
Wireless isn’t brand new. Wi-Fi has been around for a number of years now, so routers were the first wireless devices in the average office, followed by inkjet printers. Then Apple led the way forward with another technology, Bluetooth. Macintosh OS X has supported it since version 10.2, and all new Macs, like CRE’s powerful iMac Rentals, come with it built in.
Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Wireless USB
We won’t get “overtechnical” here, but it is important to understand the differences among these three types of wireless devices, and the uses to which they are best put:
Wi-Fi is a short-range, high-bandwidth connection, which simply means it won’t cover more than a few thousand square feet, but will carry a lot of information. Computers, smart phones, iPads and iPods, netbooks and other devices use Wi-Fi.
Bluetooth is a short-range, low-bandwidth connection. Its signal is good for most offices, but it doesn’t carry much data, so it is found primarily in cell phones, computers, keyboards (low cost and designer gear), various input devices (mouse, drawing tablet) and other simple peripherals.
Wireless USB is another short-range, high-bandwidth connection scheme whose signal drops precipitously after the first 10 feet or so (from full USB 2.0 speed of 420Mbps to about a quarter of that at 30+ feet). It debuted less than a year ago for use primarily with wireless storage, a market also served by Wi-Fi.
That @$%#! tangle of cords
None of these connections needs line of sight from your PC to the device, so you have greater flexibility for placement and office logistics. While the technology is still sorting itself out, CRE can advise you about strategies when you are putting together office equipment rentals with wireless capability for a temporary office or setting up a production company.
Your stacks of paper may not be getting any smaller, but you can now outfit an office without a serpentine tangle of connecting cables. Is it a “wireless office”? Almost – you still need power cords, but now you will have about half as many wires. You won’t even need those as soon as those R&D departments have perfected wireless power. It’s coming. Really!