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What is Bluetooth?

What is Bluetooth?

Bluetooth is a short-range, low-power consumption wireless technology that connects various electronic devices, like mobile phones and laptops, without the requirement of cables.
Rita Putatunda
Originally conceived by Ericsson, the Swedish telecom company, before various other companies adopted it, Bluetooth is a short-range and low-power consumption wireless technology meant for personal area networks, or PANs. In other words, the technology uses a radio chip that is fixed into an electronic device, which then transmits information to a receiver chip in another electronic device, at a special frequency. Thus, all electronic devices that are Bluetooth-enabled, like mobile phones, laptops, digital cameras, printers, audio equipment, and so on, can be connected without being cluttered by cables.

The name 'Bluetooth' comes from the name of a 10th century Viking King of Denmark, Harald Blatand, which translates to Bluetooth in English, who united the warring tribes of Denmark, Sweden, and Norway; likewise this technology was meant to unite various electronic devices by connecting them.

A Brief Description of Bluetooth Technology

The network operates in the unlicensed band of radio frequency at 2.45 GHz, the same that is used by microwave ovens, cordless phones, and Wi-Fi networks. Interference from other signals is avoided by the radio's ability to hop to another frequency after the transmission or receipt of an information packet. The Bluetooth radio, in fact, has the ability to hop much faster as well as uses smaller packets compared to other systems using the same frequency band. A Bluetooth-enabled device usually has a range of 32 feet, or 10 meters, and a data transfer rate of about 300 kbps, (although the devices can be dependent on the power class, ranging from 1 meter, or 10 meters, or 100 meters).

Also, Bluetooth-enabled devices can be connected across different rooms since the 2.45 GHz radio wave has the ability of penetrating walls. It has been envisaged that Bluetooth will be able to connect each device to another via a single universal radio link. The main features of this technology are its low cost, low power use, low complexity, and robustness.

Bluetooth networks are characterized by being unarranged networks, which means that a Bluetooth-enabled device detects other devices that are in its range automatically, and creates a network with them. In case a device in the network should go out of range, the network simply drops it from the membership automatically.

Basically, when a Bluetooth-enabled device comes into the range of a network, it can detect all the devices within the network. Also, Bluetooth networks have the ability of connecting to each other by way of linking devices. For example, in a large room, all devices that are within a 10-meter distance from each other, forming a localized network can be linked to other networks in the room, thus forming a larger network, covering the whole room, which can be much bigger than 10 meters.

Hence, when a device at one end of the room communicates with another device at the other end of the room, the communication could be relayed by way of a number of linking devices. Thus, any Bluetooth-enabled device can act as the link, and the owner of the device does not need to be aware that his or her device is being used as a link, because all of it works at the network level.

What are the Future Trends?

Since Bluetooth is basically a network protocol that unites various types of electronic devices, it can only be of use if it is supported by a large section of the industry. As a matter of fact, it has become an industry standard that has found support by various major computer and electronics companies, which have formed a forum known as the Bluetooth Special Information Group, or SIG.

It is projected that the next generation of Bluetooth technology will be able to cover much larger areas, along with high speed and high data transfer rates. This will enable high quality audio and video applications for multimedia TV sets and projectors, portable devices, and so on.