What is Bluetooth?
Bluetooth is a global wireless communication standard that connects devices together over a certain distance. Think headset and phone, speaker and PC, basketball to smartphone and more. It is built into billions of products on the market today and connects the Internet of Things (IoT).
Our suppliers in this category Bluetooth:
QUALCOMM Inc. designs and markets wireless telecommunications products and services. CODICO supplies the following QUALCOMM ATHEROS product families: Wi-Fi, Powerline communication, Fast and Gigabit Ethernet switches and PHYs
The company is one of the largest providers of connectivity and location solutions through technologies like Bluetooth, BLE and GNSS. QUALCOMM CSR is also a world leader in Audio/Visual technologies with solutions for mono and stereo headsets, speakers and soundbars.
How does Bluetooth work?
A Bluetooth device uses radio waves instead of wires or cables to connect to a phone or computer. A Bluetooth product, like a headset or watch, contains a tiny computer chip with a Bluetooth radio and software that makes it easy to connect. When two Bluetooth devices want to talk to each other, they need to pair. Communication between Bluetooth devices happens over short-range, ad hoc networks known as piconets. A piconet is a network of devices connected using Bluetooth technology. The network ranges from two to eight connected devices. When a network is established, one device takes the role of the master while all the other devices act as slaves. Piconets are established dynamically and automatically as Bluetooth devices enter and leave radio proximity. If you want a more technical explanation, you can read the core specification or visit the Wikipedia page for a deeper technical dive.
Are there different kinds of Bluetooth?
There are actually several “kinds”—different versions of the core specification—of Bluetooth. The most common today are Bluetooth BR/EDR (basic rate/enhanced data rate) and Bluetooth with low energy functionality. You will generally find BR/EDR in things like speakers and headsets while you will see Bluetooth Smart in the newest products on the market like fitness bands, beacons—small transmitters that send data over Bluetooth—and smart home devices.
What can Bluetooth do?
Bluetooth can wirelessly connect devices together. It can connect your headset to your phone, car or computer. It can connect your phone or computer to your speakers. Best of all? It can connect your lights, door locks, TV, shoes, basketballs, water bottles, toys—almost anything you can think of—to an app on your phone. Bluetooth takes it even further with connecting beacons to shoppers or travelers in airports or even attendees at sporting events.
What makes Bluetooth better than other technologies?
The short answer is because Bluetooth is everywhere, it operates on low power, it is easy to use and it doesn’t cost a lot to use.
- Bluetooth is everywhere—you will find Bluetooth built into nearly every phone, laptop, desktop and tablet. This makes it so convenient to connect a keyboard, mouse, speakers or fitness band to your phone or computer. It is also one of the reasons why Bluetooth is at the heart of IoT, the user interface for your device is your phone or tablet, just an app away.
- Bluetooth is low power—with the advent of Bluetooth Smart (BLE or Bluetooth low energy), developers were able to create smaller sensors that run off tiny coin-cell batteries for months, and in some cases, years. This is setting the stage for Bluetooth as a key component in the Internet of Things.
- Bluetooth is easy to use—for consumers, it really can’t get any easier. You go to settings, turn on your Bluetooth, hit the pairing button and wait for it start communicating. That’s it. From a development standpoint, creating a Bluetooth product starts with the core specification and then you layer profiles and services onto it. There are several tools that the SIG has to help developers.
- Bluetooth is low cost—you can add Bluetooth for a minimal cost. You will need to buy a module/system on chip (SoC)/etc. and pay an administrative fee to use the brand and license the technology. The administrative fee varies on the size of the company and there are programs to help startups.