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Blue Tooth How To

A Bluetooth how-to primer can help acquaint novices with this relatively new technology.

Bluetooth headsets have become extremely popular gadgets. [©Jupiter Images, 2009]
©Jupiter Images, 2009
Bluetooth headsets have become extremely popular gadgets.

Bluetooth How-To

According to Geekzone.com, Bluetooth replaces cables for personal technology devices by connecting them in a very small personal area network. Bluetooth is based on radio and uses the 2.4 GHz radio spectrum, which is unlicensed by the government. This is the same frequency used by Wi-Fi, but the two technologies do not conflict because Bluetooth changes its frequency 1,600 times every second. Using Bluetooth, up to seven connections can be established and maintained at the same time. All of this enables devices such as cell phones, printers, headsets, car kits, pocket personal computers, palm devices, digital cameras, and more, to communicate with each other and share information, resources and services.

Bluetooth Setup

Using Bluetooth can be very simple. Each device has its own profile. Consider a cellular telephone and a headset; the phone contains a headset client profile, and the headset contains a headset serve profile. The two devices are introduced to each other in a process called pairing, which essentially authorizes the two devices to communicate with each other by exchanging protected passkeys.

In short, there are many characteristics of a Bluetooth setup:

  • Bluetooth is a wire and cable replacement technology 
  • It works at very short range, typically only up to 30 feet 
  • It requires very little power, and the 2.4 GHz spectrum does not require a license 
  • There is little interference because the frequency hops 1,600 times per second 
  • It runs on very low bandwidth 
  • It has a low component cost, usually less than $20 
  • It is secure and contains built-in encryption

Bluetooth Gadgets

In addition to cellular phone headsets, Bluetooth.com lists some of the most currently popular Bluetooth categories. These include as automotive, personal gaming, and handheld devices; headsets; home environment tools; input devices; medical, phone, and mobile phone accessories; office equipment; personal computer accessories; and the largest category, audio and visual devices.

PC Advisor recently listed 10 of the best BlueTooth gadgets, including a mini-keyboard; an instant printer that can be used with digital cameras and camera phones; an Internet phone that can be used with voice-over-IP (VOIP) services such as Skype; a hands-free speakerphone, wireless speakers, a barcode scanner, and more.

Installing and Using Bluetooth Applications

Devices enabled with Bluetooth technology are manufactured according to industry standards and specifications that allow different devices to remain compatible. There are slight variations in the specific way manufacturers integrate Bluetooth technology into their own products.

To ensure that Bluetooth-enabled devices work together, both devices must have a Bluetooth profile (such as a Hands-Free Profile, for example) and the Bluetooth must be turned on. This ensures that the devices are paired with each other and initiates a communications session.

Pairing usually takes place by setting the first device, such as a headset, into pairing mode and then activating the function from a menu in the second device, such as a cell phone. Once this procedure is completed, there typically is no need for further operations. The first device connects automatically to the second device.

Occasionally, devices cannot be paired. This is usually due to one of four reasons:

  • The Bluetooth feature may be off or the second device may not be in discovery mode. This can be fixed by turning on the appropriate feature in the devices menus.
  • A pairing unsuccessful message appears. Typically this happens if a wrong personal identification number or pass code is entered. If both numbers are correct, turn off the power in both devices and then turn the power back on.
  • The two devices do not support the same profile. This is a fundamental requirement of Bluetooth; therefore, the devices likely will not work together.
  • The user cannot identify the correct commands, prompts or menus to accomplish the pairing process. In this case, a review of the device documentation or contacting the device manufacturers support department is recommended.

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