Welcome to Bluetooth Technology 101
A brief tutorial on Bluetooth wireless technology
What is Bluetooth technology?
Bluetooth wireless technology is built into a wide range of products, from cars and mobile phones to medical devices and computers. Bluetooth technology you share voice, music, photos, videos, and other information wirelessly between two paired devices.
Mobile phones, FM radio and television all use different kinds of radio waves to send information – such as music and videos – wirelessly.
What's the difference, and how far does the wireless signal travel?
Bluetooth technology also uses radio waves. The biggest difference between Bluetooth technology and devices like FM radios and TV is distance. Radios and TV are meant to broadcast to many people over miles or kilometers. Bluetooth technology sends information within your own personal space, which is called your Personal Area Network or "PAN" at distances up to 50 meters (164 feet).
When someone says a product "has Bluetooth", that means it has a piece of "hardware", or a small computer chip that contains the Bluetooth radio, and some software that lets you, the user, connect that product to other products wirelessly using Bluetooth technology.
The kind of radio technology used by Bluetooth technology dates back to discoveries pioneered by the military in the 1940s.
When was Bluetooth technology invented?
Bluetooth technology was invented in 1994 by engineers at Ericsson, a Swedish company. In 1998, a group of companies agreed to work together using Bluetooth technology as a way to connect their products. These companies formed the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG), an organization devoted to maintaining the technology. This means that no single company "owns" Bluetooth technology, but that many members of the Bluetooth SIG work together to develop Bluetooth technology.
Where does the name come from?
'Bluetooth' was the code name for the SIG when it was first formed and the name stuck. The name "Bluetooth" is actually very old! It is from the 10th century Danish King Harald Blåtand - or Harold Bluetooth in English. King Blåtand was instrumental in uniting warring factions in parts of what is now Norway, Sweden and Denmark - just as Bluetooth technology is designed to allow collaboration between different business sectors such as the computing, mobile phones and automotive industries.
What else can Bluetooth technology do?
Bluetooth technology was originally intended to be a wireless replacement for cables and wires between things like phones and headsets or computers, keyboards and mice. It works great in those devices and it can do so much more – connecting TVs, music players and even home healthcare devices.
Bluetooth technology has continued to mature and now you can create new connections that weren't possible using wires, like connecting your mobile phone to your car stereo, or printing a picture directly from your camera phone.
What is A2DP?
A2DP (Advanced Audio Distribution Profile) is a Bluetooth profile for streaming audio, such as from a music phone to headphones. A2DP supports stereo audio, and is one-way instead of two-way.