Bluetooth Technology – Communicating Wirelessly
Among the latest wireless technologies to hit the world, Bluetooth is today a gold standard in wireless technology and is the go-to tech for most firms aiming to transmit and receive data over short distances. Bluetooth technology is integrated into every single mobile phone in the entire world, which emphasizes its importance in our daily lives. From pairing phones to exchange music files between friends to transferring work files in offices via PCs to streaming music from phones and tablets to wireless headsets, Bluetooth has become the free go-to ‘delivery guy’ for all electronic deliveries within a specific range.
How Bluetooth Came into Being
When there is a gap between technologies, all that is needed is one inventor who can see that gap and try to fill it in. These inventors were Nils Rydbeck and Johan Ullman, who saw the need for wireless technology that transmits and receives signals faster for the creation of wireless headsets. Thus, the technology which was then called short-link radio technology, was born in 1989 at Ericsson Mobile in Lund, Sweden.
Interestingly enough, this technology was named Bluetooth by Jim Kardach, who was the first to see how this technology could be used to allow cell phones to communicate with PCs. He named it Bluetooth after the king of Denmark in the year 958: King Harald Bluetooth, who tried to bring together Denmark and Norway. The premise of Bluetooth was the same: That it would be used to bring together all the different communication protocols all over the world.
In 1998, a company that would oversee Bluetooth and govern its applications and protocols was formed and was given the name Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG). Any manufacturer who wishes to use Bluetooth in their devices needs to be a member of SIG. In fact, SIG has over 20,000 members.
How Bluetooth Works
Bluetooth is integrally a simple yet brilliant technology that works by transmitting data over radio waves rather than conventional wiring. All Bluetooth devices must have a Bluetooth chip to enable pairing with another device. A Bluetooth chip comprises of a radio plus Bluetooth software for transmission and reception.
Once the two devices are paired, communication begins using an ad hoc network, which is network connected via Bluetooth. This network is also known as a piconet. In this network, the device transmitting is known as the master whereas the receiving device is the slave. The normal range of frequencies used by Bluetooth is 2.45 Gigahertz with data transmission happening over low-power at 100mW over a distance of 100 meters.
Evolution of Bluetooth Technology
Bluetooth Technology has evolved over the years from 1989 to 2016, with the latest Bluetooth technology on the market being the Bluetooth 5.0. Bluetooth 5.0 has proven to be far superior as compared to the older versions, even Bluetooth 4.0. Only available in select phones at the moment such as the Samsung Galaxy 8, Bluetooth 5.0 is what happens when industry specs meet consumer needs. It is meant integrally to improve the functionality of the Internet of Things (IoT) and boasts double the speed of its predecessor, four times the distance range and eight times the message capacity of transmission.
Today enabling amazing wireless headset latency, high-quality streaming, lower energy usage and fast transmission wirelessly, Bluetooth Technology has truly evolved over time to keep up with the latest trends and fads hitting the communications industry.
Everyday Applications of Bluetooth Technology
Bluetooth is so much a part of our world that it’s hard to imagine life without it.Some of the integral uses of Bluetooth technology today are:
Wireless headsets – Wireless headsets are ideal in that mobile phones can be kept away from the head thus avoiding the over-heating and excess radiation for users who are constantly on the phone. Bluetooth technology has thus made life easier for everyone whose job involves a lot of time on the phone, such as salespeople, travel agents, insurance agents and people in middle management.
Printing – Bluetooth printing ensures there’s no mess of wires at the office. It’s fast and it’s convenient, and all it requires is a Bluetooth Dongle which connects the computer to the printer.
Synchronizing phones and other devices – If you’re in any service industry, it helps to have your phone backed up and synced with your other devices.
Streaming of Music –One of the key applications of Bluetooth technology is wireless streaming of music. While initial versions of Bluetooth didn’t allow for proper digitalization of music, the later versions have in-build codecs which make listening to music on wireless speakers a real pleasure.
Gaming – Many video games controllers can be linked to consoles using Bluetooth technology, which makes it easier to play for hard-core gamers.
Loyalty Apps –Bluetooth enables phones to connect to transmitters at specific restaurants and stores, thus enabling one to get discounts and loyalty points directly.
Pros and Cons of Bluetooth
As it’s true with most types of technology as they evolve, Bluetooth too has its fair share of pros and cons. The biggest pro about Bluetooth technology is the fact that you’re living life wirelessly. No more wires, no more tangles, no more stress trying to untangle tangles. Also, another main reason to opt for Bluetooth is it enables you to send and receive data over a fair distance as compared to wired devices. Imagine having your mp3 in one room and listening to the audio from another room. This is what Bluetooth gives us.
Bluetooth is also advantageous in that it is a very robust technology. Also, since it is a global standard, it can be used to pair devices from different manufacturers, which makes it among the most budget-friendly wireless technologies available today.
However, Bluetooth Technology also has quite a few disadvantages, one of the main ones being power. Bluetooth uses power to transmit and receive over radio waves. This means that you’ll constantly have to power up your device batteries to use Bluetooth. For wireless headsets, batteries are a big issue since they make the headsets bulkier and less portable. However, this disadvantage is offset in the later versions of Bluetooth beginning from Bluetooth 4.0 which use low energy (BLE).
Bluetooth can also cause interference, especially if there are many people using it in the same place. Interference in signals can cause irritation, especially in wireless headsets.
Looking at the evolution of Bluetooth Technology, it’s safe to say that this technology is here to stay. With IoT being the latest and most powerful of internet applications using Bluetooth, there is clearly a lot of scope for this tech in the years to come!