What is Bluetooth, and how does it work?


Bluetooth refers to a type of short-range wireless communications technology. The main focus of developing Bluetooth technology was to replace cables that connect different devices to transfer data. Bluetooth operates to establish high speed and a low-powered wireless link between devices.

The wireless link is created through low power radio waves.  Wireless signals transmitted using Bluetooth usually covers a short distance, generally up to 30 feet. The wireless connection between Bluetooth compatible devices is achieved through low cost and low power transceivers integrated into the machines.

Bluetooth uses the 2.45GHz frequency band to establish a connection between the transceivers devices. The technology can support up to 721KBps of data transfer rate between devices connected wirelessly as well as three voice channels. The 2.45GHz frequency band in use for Bluetooth compatible devices is a standard practice throughout the world.

The international agreement for the use of industrial, scientific, and medical devices (ISM) set aside the frequency band for Bluetooth technology to establish a worldwide standard. Bluetooth can be used to connect up to eight devices at the same time, depending on the capabilities of the devices connected.

Each of the eight devices connected offers a unique 48-bit address from the IEEE 802 standard. The connections between devices using Bluetooth can either be multipoint or point-to-point.

Bluetooth technology is understood to have emerged from a task undertaken by telecommunications company Ericsson Mobile Communications back in 1994. The company was tasked with finding alternative methods for communications between devices to connect mobile phones and other devices.

In 1998, Ericsson established the Bluetooth Special Interest Group in combination with Toshiba, Nokia, and IBM. The collective, known as SIG, released the first version of this technology in 1999.

The name Bluetooth was given to this technology after Danish Viking King, Harald Blatand. His last name translated to Bluetooth in English. The monarch is credited with uniting Denmark and Norway, similarly to how Bluetooth can connect two devices.

A Bluetooth network consists of a minimum of two and a maximum of eight devices. A master device is responsible for initiating communication with other devices. Typically, a master device can connect to up to seven slave devices. The master device governs the interaction between different devices, establishing the communication link and traffic between itself and the slave devices it is connected to.

Typical uses of Bluetooth technology include but are not limited to, transfer of multimedia between devices and automatic synchronization of data between devices. Wireless connectivity possible through Bluetooth can result in a myriad of device-specific applications across various types of technological devices.


Amita Vadlamudi has published many other articles at some of her other web sites, including the following: