Bluetooth Basics - Bluetooth Technology Tutorial
Bluetooth technology is nothing new, but in many respects it still seems to be
more of a buzz word rather than a well understood, commonly accepted technology.
You see advertisements for Bluetooth enabled cell phones, PDAs, and laptops, and
a search of the Geeks.com website shows all sorts of different devices taking
advantage of this wireless standard. But, what is it?
Before getting into the technology, the word Bluetooth is intriguing all on its
own, and deserves a look. The term is far less high tech than you might imagine,
and finds its roots in European history. The King of Denmark from 940 to 981 was
renowned for his ability to help people communicate, his name (in English)...
Harald Bluetooth. Perhaps a bit obscure, but the reference is appropriate for a
wireless communications standard.
Another item worth investigating is the Bluetooth logo. Based on characters from
the runic alphabet (used in ancient Denmark), it was chosen as it appears to be
the combination of the English letter B and an asterisk.
The FAQ on the Bluetooth.org
website offers a basic definition: "Bluetooth wireless technology is a worldwide
specification for a small-form factor, low-cost radio solution that provides
links between mobile computers, mobile phones, other portable handheld devices,
and connectivity to the Internet."
Just like 802.11 b/g wireless networking systems and many cordless telephones,
Bluetooth devices operate on 2.4 GHz radio signals. That band seems to be
getting a bit crowded, and interference between devices may be difficult to
avoid. Telephones are now being offered on the 5.8 GHz band to help remedy this,
and Bluetooth has taken its own steps to reduce interference and improve
transmission quality. Version 1.1 of the Bluetooth standard greatly reduces
interference issues, but requires completely different hardware from the
original 1.0C standard, thus eliminating any chance of backwards compatibility.
The typical specifications of Bluetooth indicate a maximum transfer rate of 723
kbps and a range of 20-100 meters (65 to 328 feet - depending on the class of
the device). This speed is a fraction of that offered by 802.11 b or g wireless
standards, so it is obvious that Bluetooth doesn’t pose a threat to replace your
wireless network. Although it is very similar to 802.11 in many ways, Bluetooth
was never intended to be a networking standard, but does have many practical applications.
There are a variety of products that take advantage of Bluetooth’s capabilities,
from laptops and PDAs, to headphones and input devices, and even wireless printer adapters.