Bluetooth Technology on Computers

Bluetooth technology, frequently associated with headset devices for mobile phones, helps facilitate communication between computers, their peripherals, other computers and network devices. This technology provides wireless data communication at high speeds and with low power consumption, and its applications in computer use range from basic accessorizing to building of entire networks.

  1. History

    • Bluetooth technology, according to the official Bluetooth website, dates back to a 1994 engineering innovation at the Swedish company Ericsson. Four years later, several technology companies agreed to adopt the technology as a standardized way of connecting electronic devices. The technology takes its name from Harold Bluetooth, an English translation of the Dutch name Harold Blatand, who ruled Denmark in the tenth century and was instrumental in uniting several Scandinavian nations.

    Function

    • Bluetooth uses low-power, short-range radio signals to communicate with other nearby devices. According to the technology website Network Tutorials, computer Bluetooth devices operate in the unlicensed 2.4 to 2.485 gigahertz frequency range. To ensure security, according to the official Bluetooth site, the technology uses a digital spread spectrum base similar to that used on handheld cordless telephones. Bluetooth communication periodically changes between 79 different frequencies, a process known as frequency hopping, and synchronized devices communicate with one another to coordinate the hops and avoid interruption of connectivity. To conserve battery life on wireless accessories like keyboards and mice, Bluetooth radios draw only about two and a half milliwatts (2.5mW) of power.

    Applications

    • Bluetooth technology allows computers to wirelessly connect with almost any peripheral. The Bluetooth website Blue Tomorrow lists a number of common computer peripherals that employ the technology; some devices include keyboards, mice, speakers and printers. Bluetooth-enabled computers can also allow users to connect a portable headset like those used on mobile telephones, and the computer can output sound and accept microphone input through these devices. Computers can also use Bluetooth technology to communicate with smartphone devices as a way of transferring data, exchanging files and even establishing a wireless Internet data connection. Blue Tomorrow goes on to explain that digital cameras and video cameras can use Bluetooth technology to transfer pictures and videos to a computer. Because Bluetooth-enabled devices can communicate with at least one other device using the technology, Blue Tomorrow also explains that office administrators can use Bluetooth to establish wireless local area networks.

    Benefits

    • Bluetooth technology provides a host of benefits in addition to facilitating wireless connectivity. The official Bluetooth website notes that Bluetooth v4.0, the most current revision of the technology as of March 2011, allows for the secure exchange of information at speeds of up to about 24 megabits per second, or 24mbps. The technology can also help reduce office clutter by eliminating computer cables and peripheral wires, and it can help reduce costs by reducing the need to purchase separate or additional cabling.

    Considerations

    • Though Bluetooth draws only minimal power, fully wireless computer devices like keyboards and mice rely on batteries that periodically require replacement. Also, the official Bluetooth website notes that recent versions of Bluetooth have reduced "dropouts," or brief losses of connectivity, but the technology's frequency hopping feature does occasionally create periodic connectivity interruptions.

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References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images

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