Bluetooth with sign

OverviewMan using phone

Bluetooth is a standard communications protocol for wireless personal area networks (PANs). It acts as a media between electronic devices such as mobile phones, laptops, PCs, printers, digital cameras, and video game consoles to connect and exchange information.

It allows these devices to communicate with each other on a secure connection through an unlicensed short-range radio frequency, when they are in range. It simplifies the process of communication by easy discovery and setup of services between devices. It automatically advertises all of its services so that it is easy for the device to select the required service.

The name Bluetooth was coined after Harald Bluetooth, the king of Denmark and Norway in 10th century. He was responsible for the unification of warring tribes and today’s Bluetooth is responsible for the unification of different technologies.

Ericsson developed the Bluetooth technology that was later formalized by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG). The SIG was formed by a group of electronics manufacturers like Ericsson, IBM, Intel, Nokia, and Toshiba in 1998 and today it has more than 7000 companies worldwide. It is responsible for the research and development in the field of Bluetooth technology. The Bluetooth specifications are defined and licensed by the SIG. The operating range of Bluetooth depends on the device class.

Bluetooth specifications table


A piconet is an ad-hoc network that uses a single master Bluetooth device to communicate with up to seven active devices. It can further connect up to 255 inactive devices that can be made as active whenever required. In this setup, the devices will switch roles and the slave device can become the master device at any time. The switching from one device to another occurs in round-robin fashion.


Bluetooth 1.0 and 1.0B

  • Mandatory Bluetooth device address (BD_ADDR) for transmission
  • Products interoperable problems
  • Anonymity rendering was not possible at protocol level

Bluetooth 1.1

  • Defined as IEEE Standard 802.15.1-2002
  • Fixed 1.0B specification errors
  • Used Signal Strength Indicator (RSSI)
  • Supported non-encrypted channels

Bluetooth 1.2

  • Defined as IEEE Standard 802.15.1-2005
  • Included backward-compatible feature
  • Provided better Connection and Discovery
  • Offered higher transmission speeds
  • Extended Synchronous Connections (eSCO) to improve voice quality
  • Supported Host Controller Interface (HCI) for three-wire UART
  • Implemented adaptive frequency-hopping spread spectrum (AFH) to improve resistance to radio frequency interference

Bluetooth 2.0

  • Included backward-compatible feature
  • Introduced an EDR of 3.0 Mbits
  • Provided 3-10 times faster transmission speed
  • Reduced duty cycle ensured low power consumption
  • Simplified multi-link scenarios

Bluetooth 2.1

  • Included fully backward-compatible feature
  • Extended inquiry response
  • Implemented Sniff sub-rating to reduce the power consumption for devices in sniff low-power mode
  • Increased battery life of mouse and keyboards by a factor of 3 to 10
  • Stronger encryption through Encryption Pause Resume feature
  • Better secured Simple Pairing
  • Enabled automatic secure Bluetooth connections for NFC radio interfaces

Bluetooth 3.0

  • Code-named as Seattle with version number as TBD
  • Best suitable to adopt ultra-wideband (UWB) radio technology
  • Offered high-speed/high-data-rate options
  • Enabled high-quality video and audio applications for portable devices

Wireless Bluetooth Technology

Bluetooth Technology Table
Bluetooth Technology Table

  • Ideal for wireless short-range communication between devices
  • No need for installation driver
  • Ease of use
  • Robust
  • Consumes low power
  • Global specification
  • Cost effective
  • Globally available
  • Built in security features
  • Applicable to wide range of devices
  • Secure connections

Industrial Growth

As Bluetooth provides the basic need of connectivity within a close proximity, its growth is evident. With Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) adoption of smart phones, the support for Bluetooth applications has far reaching impacts on many industries.

Over 4 million new car head units have been embedded with Bluetooth technology in 2006. There are more than 1800 manufacturers worldwide and the Bluetooth is built into over 500 millions of devices in 2007. IMS research predicts the market growth of Bluetooth to increase by 300% in the next 5 years. The Bluetooth technology audio streaming profiles have created another new market and the growth in this segment is expected to increase rapidly in the coming years. The Bluetooth enabled equipment shipments have grown to 800 million in 2007 and its predicted growth is over 1.8 billion by 2012.

In 2007, the second highest volume application that uses Bluetooth technology was the gaming equipment. VoIP and audio/video entertainment drive the implementation of Bluetooth technology in notebooks. Well designed stereo headsets have also created opportunity for Bluetooth technology. Today, Bluetooth has become a promising mainstream technology despite the growth of many other technologies. Its market has rapidly expanded and implementation in new devices is still in the forefront