Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Basics of Bluetooth

Bluetooth 101:
How Wireless Technology Makes Sychronizing a Snap

If you’ve bought a smartphone or wireless headset in the past few years, you’ve no doubt heard about Bluetooth -- but you might be a little fuzzy on what it is and why people are so excited about it. Here’s a quick run-down:

What it is. Bluetooth is a wireless technology standard for connecting devices, set to replace cables.

How it works. It uses radio frequencies in the 2.45 GHz range to transmit information over short distances -- generally 33 feet or less.

Why it’s important. Embedded Bluetooth technology allows all sorts of devices including cell phones, headsets and earpieces, digital cameras and computers, to easily communicate with each other without cables or setup.

The background scoop. PDA-type products have increased many people’s productivity, but they’re often difficult to synchronize with computer systems. Before Bluetooth, people had to depend on cradles, cables, and a bit of luck to get their PDA to “talk” with their computers – and it meant they couldn’t synchronize unless there was a physical connection between the device and the computer. Bluetooth-enabled devices eliminate that hassle. As long as they’re within range and powered on, they are always communicating with each other. Each device sends out a signal, received by the other devices that are sending out their own signals. The devices scan all signals to see if any are addressing it. In this way, Bluetooth creates a personal area network (PAN) without requiring the user to do anything special to get the devices to speak to one another. The Bluetooth devices that have business with one another initiate their own separate PAN to create interference-free communication. 

Fun fact. Bluetooth is named after King Harald Bluetooth of Denmark, who in the 930s consolidated warring factions of Denmark, Norway and Sweden. This ability to establish peaceful communication between differing peoples is a metaphor for the ability to connect devices from differing technologies.


No comments: