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What Is Bluetooth?

The Bluetooth logo on a blue background

Bluetooth: You’ve most likely seen it in your smartphone, pill, Mac, or PC, and also you may realize it has one thing to do with wi-fi communications or peripherals. However what’s Bluetooth—and is it just like Wi-Fi? We’ll clarify.

What Is Bluetooth?

Bluetooth is a short-range wi-fi communications commonplace designed particularly for replacing wired connections in close by peripheral units like headsets, audio system, sport controllers, mice, and keyboards. It will also be used to switch recordsdata between units in the identical room.

Bluetooth originated as a venture to hyperlink cell telephones to laptop computer computer systems within the mid-1990s. With a number of low-power radio communications protocols in improvement at Intel, Ericsson, and Nokia, someone proposed that they merge into an trade commonplace. The usual solidified in 1998 as “Bluetooth” and has been managed by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group, a not-for-profit company, ever since.

Why Is It Known as Bluetooth?

Jim Kardach of Intel named the Bluetooth commonplace after Harald “Bluetooth” Gormsson, a king of Denmark and Norway within the 10th century AD. Some historians guess that Gormsson could have acquired his “Bluetooth” nickname from a foul, discolored tooth. In a 2008 editorial for EETimes, Kardach states that he selected Bluetooth identify as a result of the king was “well-known for uniting Scandinavia simply as we supposed to unite the PC and mobile industries with a short-range wi-fi hyperlink.” Kardach initially supposed the identify to only be the code identify for the venture, however it caught.

The identify alternative prolonged to the brand for Bluetooth, nonetheless in use at the moment, which is a combination of two runic letters (“H” and “B”) that initialize Harald Bluetooth’s identify.

Why Is Bluetooth Wanted?

The important thing cause for all wi-fi applied sciences is baked into their identify: wi-fi. Wires—or cables—are cumbersome and generally costly. Cables cut back mobility and make units much less moveable. Bluetooth makes use of radio waves to remove the need for cables for peripherals and short-range knowledge transfers, and it does so whereas sipping power, which makes it nice for small, battery-powered peripherals and cell units.

RELATED: Bluetooth 5.0: What’s Different, and Why it Matters

Wi-Fi vs. Bluetooth: What’s the Distinction?

Bluetooth is a typical function on fashionable tablets, PCs, and smartphones. However there’s one other wi-fi function that some could confuse with Bluetooth: Wi-Fi. Why are there two completely different wi-fi requirements—why not only one?

Normally, Bluetooth is designed for advert hoc, direct device-to-device connections. It helps decrease knowledge switch speeds, however makes use of far much less energy than different wi-fi applied sciences (like Wi-Fi) consequently, so it’s nice for cell units. Because of the low energy utilization, it additionally has a far shorter communications vary—often round 30 toes.

In distinction, Wi-Fi makes use of a hub-based community designed particularly for networking. It helps a lot greater knowledge switch speeds however makes use of extra energy than Bluetooth consequently. It additionally helps a for much longer vary—sometimes tons of of toes.

So if you happen to examine the 2, the properties of Bluetooth make it nice for small devices you wish to wirelessly hyperlink collectively throughout the identical room, however poor for high-speed community entry. And Wi-Fi is nice for high-speed wi-fi networking, however is simply too power-hungry (and never ideally architected) for ad-hoc connections between units, though there are exceptions like Wi-Fi Direct.

Finally, requirements reside and die by how extensively they get adopted. Bluetooth has broad machine help for short-range connections so it can probably be the default technique for wi-fi peripherals for a while to come back. Comfortable linking!

RELATED: What Is Wi-Fi Direct, and How Does It Work?

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