Belkin F8T013 & You!!!

If you are trying to get your PC mic and speakers to work as a Bluetooth headset… you might as well save yourself the trouble and get a Belkin F8T013. It comes with Widcomm drivers, AND you can update the drivers directly off the Broadcom/Widcomm website. Don’t bother shopping around unless you are 100% certain of the USB Bluetooth dongles that come with Widcomm drivers (even then you’ll probably end up walking around like a retard and not getting anything for days on end… at which point the $$$ you pay for parking would probably have bought you the Belkin in the first place).

Next up, if you are just “thinking” about using your PC mic and speakers as a Bluetooth headset… you should probably not. After the trouble I went through (and $$$ spent)… I finally realised some time after getting everything to work… noise cancellation. Well, I suppose if you have a really good sound card it might have noise cancellation… otherwise… just get a Bluetooth headset like everyone else. There’s also (apparently) a small delay when you have a conversation with this method… possibly something to do with the F8T013 being USB1.1? Not sure, but worth a mention anyway.




Bluetooth, Widcomm, Toshiba, Microsoft and Unstandardized Standards

Don’t believe anything that you read in the newspapers about how Bluetooth is a standard based technology. Well, it is… like at the integrated circuit level.

If you ever want to do more than just transferring files or syncing your mobile phone, you’ve probably run into the same problems as I have. Put simply, the Microsoft Bluetooth Stack that is included with every Windows XP SP2 (and anything more recent) doesn’t cut it. Yes, this sounds familiar… here’s a hint; it rhymes with Internet Explorer. The Microsoft Bluetooth Stack (referred to as MSBS from hereon in) isn’t so much of a stack… maybe a small pile… but definitely not a stack. Kind of like selling the male reproductive orgasn as a package… sans testicles. MSBS supports File Transfer… and err… Dial-Up Networking… and err… yeah, that’s about it. Microsoft being anal about bundling their own wonderful MSBS in every version of Windows after XP SP2 has brought Bluetooth to the simpleton masses… but pretty much screwed over any techie who is interested in the full potential of Bluetooth.

Because of the bundled MSBS (Windows being used on like 90% of the PC market or something like that), Bluetooth hardware manufacturers decided, “Hey guys, MS already bundles drivers with Windows… let’s save like 20 cents on the driver CD!!!”. Well, something like that anyway. USB Bluetooth dongle prices dropped to like RM15/pc because of the absence of a driver CD and the wonder of Chinese reverse (and re)engineering.

I forgot the whole point of this rant… so to wrap up… the Microsoft Bluetooth Stack and the Toshiba Bluetooth Stack sucks goats nuts. The only Bluetooth Stack you should even consider using is the Widcomm/Broadcom Stack. Issue is, Widcomm/Broadcom decided to protect themselves by allowing their Bluetooth Stack to only be used with licensed hardware so the only way to get the Widcomm/Broadcom Stack on your PC is by looking for a needle in a stack of needles… or more accurately the grand total of like 4 USB Bluetooth dongles that come with the Widcomm/Broadcom stack in the big stack of needles known as Low Yat Plaza.

To prevent anyone else from suffering more pain than necessary, here are the few USB Bluetooth dongles I have found that come with the Widcomm/Broadcom stack:

  • Anycom USB-500
  • Belkin F8T013 (and most other Belkin Bluetooth devices)
  • D-Link DBT-120/122 (unconfirmed)

If you think you can get that RM15 dongle to run the Audio Gateway service… go right ahead.

P.S. you can’t…