Active Sync Woes : use a Bluetooth connection !

I’ve had it with the irregular, unresponsive, plug-and-pray manner that Active Sync and Microsoft in general work with USB connections to PocketPC’s. Either it’s Active Sync not syncing or ‘Unknown USB device’ for my cable, it’s just gone on too long.

And I’m not the only one – I’ve read several comments over the last few days that people are getting fed up.

After all my troubles trying to get my Active Sync USB connection going again, removing and reinstalling AS and USB drivers, even going so far as to install AS beta 4.2, I still could not get a connection. So I went the other route and bought a PEABIRD bluetooth usb module.

It was actually 0.50 € cheaper in the FNAC than the D-Link BT120 module which I knew about, plus it promised EDR – Bluetooth 2.0 instead of regular 1.1 Bluetooth that D-Link offers.

After the Toshiba drivers and utilities are installed, setting up Active Sync was a snap (well, almost). I first put both devices discoverable, paired the devices (for some reason or another, the only way that pairing works well for me is when I start the pair process from the pocket pc), and then discovered the services that were offered on each and created the relevant shortcuts for them, both on the pc and on the ppc.

Once that was done, I then set up an Active Stink, sorry Sync connection choosing to use Bluetooth to sync.

To get an actual sync working, I have to do the following steps :
1. Start Bluetooth serial connection on the pc (it has attributed itself COM40 !) using the shortcut it created.
2. Start AS on my pocketpc (making sure that Bluetooth is active)
3. Click the Sync button

and voila ! Sync auto-starts and everything works just fine.

Speed of sync is fine, although I suspect that my pc is only BT1.1 capable, it still works reasonably fast. I set both Bluetooth services back to non-discoverable again, plus only paired devices can connect. This should give some security.

All in all, it slightly more work starting the Sync, but so far all my Sync attempts have worked first time. No more install and re-install hassle (let’s hope so).