Cirago Bluetooth 3.0 High Speed & Wi-Fi Combo USB Mini Adapter, Class 2 (BTA7300)
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|Hardware Interface||Bluetooth, USB|
|Compatible Devices||Keyboard, Printer|
|Item Dimensions LxWxH||6 x 1 x 7 inches|
|Data Link Protocol||Bluetooth, USB|
|Data Transfer Rate||150 Megabits Per Second|
|Item Weight||0.03 Pounds|
About this item
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- Bluetooth 3.0 + HS and Wi-Fi 802.11n in one device
- Up to 8 times faster Bluetooth transfer rate than Bluetooth 2.0 or Bluetooth 3.0
- Backwards compatible with Bluetooth 2.0
- USB powered, 5V, <300mA Power Consumption
- Operating RangeUp to 10 Meters (33 feet), SupportWindows 8, 7, Vista, and XP
Cirago BTA7300 Bluetooth 3.0 High Speed & Wi-Fi Combo USB Mini Adapter is a simple solution to communicate to the latest Bluetooth devices like mobile phones, PDAs, mice, keyboards, and printers for data transfer, networking and dial-up/fax functions without the need for cables. The adapter combines the latest Bluetooth 3.0 + HS technology with 802.11n Wi-Fi capabilities. Without interference between the two signals, it supports Wi-Fi transfer rate of up to 150 Mbps and Bluetooth of up to 24 Mbps - up to eight times faster than Bluetooth 2.1 and Bluetooth 3.0!Features:. Bluetooth 3.0 + HS and Wi-Fi 802.11n in one device. Up to 8 times faster Bluetooth transfer rate than Bluetooth 2.0 or Bluetooth 3.0. Backwards compatible with Bluetooth 2.0. Compatible with Windows 7/Vista/XP. Compact and easy to use
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First, the bluetooth. I'm using this to stream music from my tablet and phone to the Pi running Pulse Audio. When anything connects, it often (not always) crashes the Pi. You must add the following lines to the appropriate files:
And the BT part of the dongle should work reliably. Now, the Realtek-based wifi is so miserly with power, it tries to go to sleep any chance it gets, often as soon as the Pi boots up, effectively rendering itself useless after about 5 seconds or so (not very well designed, to say the least). You can (and should) turn off its power-saving feature. Folks at AdaFruit has a page recommending this for their specific wifi dongle, but it seems to be a problem for all Realtek-based wifi dongles. Just create the following file with the following line (Note: you probably don't have this file; so just create it):
options 8192cu rtw_power_mgnt=0 rtw_enusbss=1 rtw_ips_mode=1
Reboot your Pi, and you can realize the full power and beauty of this dongle. I don't use the hardwired ethernet anymore, accessing it exclusively via the wifi (current ssh session is about 5 days - still working). My iPad is constantly pumping music through the bluetooth without fail (sounds great too!).
On top of all this, I have a spare USB slot for things like thumb drive, USB microphone, etc. No need for keyboard or mouse, since the bluetooth will handle both with ease. Turning off the power-saving feature on the wifi could be a bummer, but really, get a decent power supply that will provide adequate amperage. I have a 5V/1A power supply I got from an old smartphone and it works perfectly. Right now, I have it plugged into Ankers 7-port USB 3.0 powered hub (which provides max. 5V/800mA per port), and it's been running like a champ. Actually, I have two Raspberry Pi's hooked up to it; no crashes so far.
And unlike what other posters said, both the BT and wifi are working fine - SIMULTANEOUSLY!
I'm not going to fault Cirago for the configuration changes you need to make. I'm knocking one star off, because it's quite expensive (almost the price of my Pi). But if you want to save one USB slot, this little guy is the only game in town.
EDIT: I just noticed that it flashes a blue light when my iPad is connected to it via the Bluetooth, and flashes red when disconnected. Hm.. nice little feature, gotta make use of that somehow.
INSTALLATION. Installation was a breeze under Windows 8. You plug it in and it works.
BLUETOOTH. Bluetooth was satisfactory. Bluetooth worked reliably but the range was nowhere near the claimed maximum of 33 feet, at least not in my environment. When I paired this adapter with my Plantronics Bluetooth headset, I could never get more than four or five steps away from the transmitter even though I remained in the same room with nothing in between me and the transmitter. By way of comparison, when I using the same Plantronics headset I can be two floors away from my Droid Bionic and still remain connected.
WI-FI. Wi-Fi was unsatisfactory. This adapter would connect with no problem but then inexplicably disconnect after no more than a couple of minutes. So I would reconnect it and it would again disconnect after no more than two minutes. This happened repeatedly. Suspecting a signal or antenna issue, I checked signal strength. The signal strength showed all five bars - not surprisingly since the test machine was no more than 24 inches from the wireless router. I hypothesized that it might be something about the computer, a Windows 8 Dell Optiplex 960 that had been upgraded from Windows 7. When I tried it on a Dell Optiplex 9010 with a very fresh copy of Windows 8, I got exactly the same result. This adapter would connect and then disconnect inexplicably within two minutes. I thought it might be something in our wireless environment but we have three wireless laptops here that work flawlessly even though on an entirely different floor. In desperation, I bought a refurbished Netgear WNA3100. When I finally decided to terminate the test, the Netgear WNA3100 adapter had been working flawlessly in actual use for more than four hours.
CONCLUSION. Overall, my experience was quite unsatisfactory. Still, it could have been a defective device. In other words, if I had exchanged the product immediately, I may have been able to write a more positive review. So long as we are considering "what ifs", however, if I had bought the Netgear to begin with, I could have saved myself a lot of time.
My main concern is the lack of Bluetooth LE. This is now a fairly old product with no replacement on the horizon, and since most new desktop and portable computers have Bluetooth 4 and Wifi N or AC built-in now, this dongle's only real market is the maker space, for Raspberry Pi and BeagleBone users in particular. For this market, Bluetooth LE is pretty important, and it's not part of the Bluetooth 3 spec. For boards like the RPi A+ or BeagleBone Black with only one USB port, this could very likely be a dealbreaker... but there is no alternative. It's this or complicate a simple design with a USB hub.
Cirago, I get the sense your business model is more "relabel and resell" than innovating, but is there any way you can create an updated version of this?
UPDATE 2/2016: To be honest, I'm not quite sure what I was thinking when I gave this a three-star review originally. The lack of Bluetooth LE is a pretty big deal, but this is still a small, decently reliable combo device that you'll probably want to stock up on if you do a lot of Raspberry Pi or BeagleBone projects. In that light, I wish it was about ten bucks cheaper, but it's a known quantity and works pretty well.