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3Com unveils wireless printing kit

The company's Wireless Bluetooth Printing Kit will allow standard printers to connect without wires for up to nearly 33 feet indoors.

3Com has launched a printer kit that will let people link their computers and printers with a short-range wireless protocol.

The kit uses Bluetooth, a wireless technology that uses radio technology to send data between devices like notebooks, handhelds and printers. The Wireless Bluetooth Printing Kit, which costs $250, includes a wireless Bluetooth USB (universal serial bus) adapter and a wireless Bluetooth parallel-port printer adapter. More adapters are available and sell for $149 each.

3Com says the connection will be reliable for up to nearly 33 feet indoors. Bluetooth allows data to be transferred at speeds up to 1mbps.

Bluetooth was launched in 1998 and has been slow to catch on. But there have been signs recently that adoption of the technology is gaining momentum.

The new 802.11b wireless technology, known as Wi-Fi, has also provided some stiff competition.

3Com, which is backing both technologies, said Bluetooth is better suited to replacing cables for sending "quick bursts of low-bandwidth information." Wi-Fi, 3Com said, works better for transferring high-bandwidth files or for always-on Internet and network connectivity.