Bluetooth is a growing technological trend that many people use to varying extents. Some simply clip a headset on their ear to talk on a cell phone without the need to hold the actual phone. Others maximize Bluetooth's capabilities and have fully synchronized networks in their homes, offices and vehicles. And still some don't know much about Bluetooth at all. Here are the basics.
Bluetooth devices communicate wirelessly with each other through short-range radio waves that have a maximum reach of about 10 meters generally, or 30 feet, although some more high-powered devices have longer ranges. Unlike devices that require a direct line of sight like remote controls, Bluetooth-enabled products just need to be in the same area in order to communicate with each other.
The interactions between devices form a small network, commonly called a piconet or a personal area network (PAN). These mini-networks, typically comprising no more than eight electronic gadgets, communicate in interesting ways -- all the while guided by the Bluetooth connection protocols and standards that unify the exchanges.
The machines, controlled by one master device, detect each others' presence and pass around pertinent data to coordinate and facilitate their activities at the same time they're continually jumping between radio frequencies along a certain band. With this constant hopping and the use of low power signals, Bluetooth gadgets not only cut down on interference from other devices sharing the frequency band, they also help ensure any brief crossovers won't be an issue.
A variety of electronics can be part of a Bluetooth piconet, from cell phones to personal computers and printers to cameras. The growing list also includes home phones, headsets, entertainment systems, GPS navigators, MP3 players and more. Bluetooth technology is touted as being an inexpensive automated system that brings convenience, flexibility and efficiency to electronic network communication -- and the daily lives of its users.
For more detailed information on how Bluetooth technology operates, read the article How Bluetooth Works. On the next page, however, we'll be reading about all the different ways a Bluetooth car stereo can enhance your driving experience.