What is Bluetooth?
|A Bluetooth headset that allows hands-free calling.|
Wireless communication has become part of everyday life, and you probably don't think much about what makes it possible. When you're talking on your phone with a hands-free headset or playing a game with a wireless controller, you can thank Bluetooth technology.
The Bluetooth name
The purpose of Bluetooth is linked largely to the derivation of the name. Bluetooth is the anglicized name of Harald Blåtand, a Danish king from the 10th century who united the tribes and clans of Denmark under one rule. He built a reputation for being able to cultivate communication among many different people, a trait that now applies to Bluetooth.
How Bluetooth works
Bluetooth is much like Wi-Fi in that it uses wave radio technology. This transfer standard works specifically through the 2.4 to 2.485GHz transmission band, which means it’s relatively low-powered, and most accessories using the technology will have an incredibly lengthy battery life.
Within each Bluetooth device is a small computer chip that allows users to connect the accessory with other devices in a personal area network (PAN). A PAN simply means that the Bluetooth accessory and the device it is connected to share an exclusive network.
The evolution of Bluetooth
Bluetooth was invented in 1994 as a way of simply transmitting information over small distances wirelessly. This method of data transfer proved quite invaluable to many technology companies and was quickly integrated by Intel, Nokia and Toshiba.
Bluetooth became commercially available in 2000, appearing on mobile phones with headsets shipping shortly thereafter. Over the years, the functionality was integrated into other technology and quickly reached an install base of 1 billion by 2006. Despite its intended purpose of transferring files, it was quite slow and did not improve speeds until 2007 when Bluetooth 2.1 was made available.
The availability of version 2.1 improved power consumption and pairing signal quality, changes that made this technology even more popular. But it wasn’t until version 3.0 that Bluetooth became truly competitive with data transfer speeds reaching 24Mbps, a speed that far surpassed most Wi-Fi networks.
In addition, Bluetooth introduced peer-to-peer communication between mobile devices. This enabled users to not only share apps between devices, but also play multiplayer games. Because of this and many other functions, Bluetooth has become a very widespread technology used in many aspects of technology and life.
Of all the uses found for Bluetooth technology, the most well-known is that of the hands-free headset. Earpieces transfer audio information between mobile phone and headset via Advanced Audio Distribution (A2DP), which facilitates a streaming audio capability that you can use while on the move.
You will likely find a Bluetooth accessory for nearly every function. Peripherals exist for tablets and consoles that allow you to connect keyboards, mice and controllers wirelessly. Stereo headsets are also increasing in popularity with Bluetooth technology that can be used on iPods, music phones and other MP3 players.