Bluetooth headset under Linux and Windows

Since I’m teleworking, I use VoIP a lot. My usual equipment is the Creative HS300 headset, which has a cable, so I’m tied to my desk while talking. I would rather walk around, saving the sitting for later.

I recently bought a nice bluetooth headset. I got it to work partially under Linux. Initially, it works fine, but it starts to be intermittent after some time, going on and off about every two seconds. That’s probably a problem with the btsco driver. If the authors fix it, it will be great.

To satisfy my curiosity, I tried it under Windows as well. I expected it to work like a charm, but it didn’t. I installed the driver. Reboot. The bluetooth devices management application has frozen. Reboot. I got it to work second time.

The problem is, that Windows can’t manage to switch the headset between stand-by (low battery usage) and on-line (high battery usage). I have to switch it manually between stand-by and on-line. And here’s how it works (or doesn’t) with Skype:

  • As the headset manual states, it should be kept in stand-by mode, which means that the headset keeps in touch with the computer, but doesn’t transmit or play any sound. It can stay in this mode for quite a long time.
  • When the headset is in stand-by and I answer or make a call, I hear nothing, the headset wouldn’t go on-line by itself.
  • I switch the headset ot on-line manually (during connection) but the sound wouldn’t appear. I still hear nothing.
  • I have to hang up, switch the headset off, switch it back on, then make a call (or answer) again. Wow, now there’s sound!
  • I finish talking and hang up. But the headset wouldn’t switch to stand-by mode by itself. It says in on-line and plays some clicks and cracks every now and then, irritating. And on-line is consuming a lot of battery, shortening the battery lifetime from 120 to about 6 hours.
  • So to save the battery, I switch the headset manually to stand-by.
  • …but there’s another call, I answer it and… there’s no sound!

With Linux, it is very promising to know that the btsco driver is able to automatially switch the headset between stand-by and on-line, and use the full 120-hour battery life, contrary to Windows’ 6 hours of constant clicking and cracking on-line. It’s only the matter of the intermittent sound that renders it unusable. And it must be some bug in the driver, which, unlike the Windows problem, can be probably found and fixed.

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Author: automatthias

You won't believe what a skeptic I am.