Bluetooth Explained: All a Layman Needs to Know

Internet of ThingsBluetooth is everywhere. It’s in about 8.2 billion devices – in smartphones, keyboards, headphones, speakers, watches, or even Bluetooth handlebar speakers for motorcycles – just to name a few.

But what exactly is it? How does it work?

What is Bluetooth?

Bluetooth is a global wireless communication standard for wirelessly connecting devices over a particular distance. It operates in the same 2.4GHz frequency as WiFi does. The invention of Bluetooth is largely credited to Dr. Jaap Haartsen back in the 1990s, while he was working for the tech company Ericsson.

A Historical Origin

The origin of the name “Bluetooth” dates back to 10th century Denmark. It was after Danish King Haruld Blitund – which translates to Harold Bluetooth in English. King Harold helped unite warring factions in parts of Norway, Sweden, and Denmark.

Similarly, Bluetooth enables different devices to establish a connection. Despite his name, King Harold did not actually have blue teeth. The Bluetooth logo is from the Danish runes for H and B, respectively.

How does it work?

In terms of how Bluetooth networks work, they follow the master-and-slave model, which is also known to some as the primary and secondary model. The master, from the word itself, coordinates communication all throughout the piconet – it can send or request data from its “slaves.”

Slaves, on the other hand, can only transmit to and receive data from the master. They cannot talk with other slaves in the piconet. A single-master device can have up to seven slave devices connected to it, while a slave device can only have a connection to a single master.

How far can Bluetooth transmit data?

Most people are going to say that Bluetooth works within 10 meters, and while that is true, the actual distance is not limited to just 10 meters. There are three Bluetooth classes, each having its own maximum transmission range.

Class 1 has a maximum range of 100 meters; Class 2 has a maximum range of 10 meters; and Class 3 can transmit up to one meter. We have breached the 100-meter mark with the introduction of Bluetooth 5.0.

Ever since the invention of this great technology, Bluetooth has revolutionized the way we connect, the way we live, and the way we conduct our businesses. The ever-growing Bluetooth technology also allows greater functionality to connection-less services such as location and navigation.

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