You might find yourself in need of Bluetooth earphones so that you can still use your phone when you are stuck in rush hour traffic. You will find a lot of articles out there that tell you how to choose a Bluetooth device or what they think the best ones are, but none of them actually tell you exactly what Bluetooth is.
Sometimes it’s a good idea to actually know a little about the things you use every day.
How Do Bluetooth Earphones Work?
Bluetooth is a communications system that enables two devices to talk to each other without a cable data cord. Presently the technology is relatively short range, which is why it works well with earphones.
Bluetooth made its first appearance in 1994 when it was created by a group of engineers at Ericsson, a Swedish company. It was suggested as an alternative to cable data cords. It wasn’t until the early 2000s, with the release of its prototype hands-free system, that Bluetooth earned its household name with consumers.
They chose the ‘Bluetooth’ name based off on the 10th-Century Danish King Harald Blåtand, which means Bluetooth in English. King Bluetooth united the warring factions of Norway, Sweden and Denmark. Similarly, the new technology was used to unite products and industries.
Today, Bluetooth had worked itself into everything from computers and cellphones to alarm clocks and medical devices. Its perk is the replacement of cable data cords with wireless technology that provides the same security as a modem.
Price and Power Efficiency
Because Bluetooth has created a virtual platform through which multiple devices can connect and share information with each other, accessibility is high. This keeps the price of Bluetooth products low. Not only are Bluetooth accessories relatively inexpensive, but they are also power efficient. Many devices using Bluetooth have built in sleep modes that send the device into hibernation until you’re ready to use it again.
Bluetooth devices speak to each other through piconets, short range platforms that the devices automatically manipulate as they move into the range of available wireless connections, or ‘access points.’ Up to seven devices can share the same piconet, and each of them could be a part of their own piconets.
Simply put, Bluetooth devices are free floating in the cyber void. They have the ability to bind their receptors with those of other devices, enabling the transfer of voice and data. This is called “pairing.”
For security purposes, users have control over which devices they choose to ‘pair up’ with, and how much information they choose to share. Technically speaking, pairing is sharing. For this reason, Bluetooth ensures that only secure connections are utilized.
Devices can be paired with each other as long as they meet the minimum range requirements. The minimum range is 30 feet, but some devices need to be much closer together to pair up. The range of connectivity varies greatly between devices, depending namely on when they were produced (earlier models have a tighter connectivity range). Some headsets will maintain connectivity with a Bluetooth enabled cell phone for up to thirty feet. Some will lose connectivity half that.
Like mobile phones, FM radio and TV, Bluetooth also uses radio waves, however it transmits them over a shorter distance. TV and radio signals will broadcast over many miles, while Bluetooth technology transmits only within your Personal Area Network or “PAN” up to 100 meters (164 ft).
Bluetooth has the ability to facilitate the transfer of voice and data simultaneously. This is instrumental in the facilitation of voice-data conferences. The secure platform allows users to hear and be heard as files are transferred between devices.
Powerpoint presentations can be streamed live from one device to the next, and with multiple piconets in each range to an available access point, conferences can be held with multiple users, affording each user the opportunity to participate in the conference remotely.
Ultimately, Bluetooth facilitates computer speak, allowing the instantaneous wireless transfer of voice and data to facilitate us in daily communications, from cellphones to the Internet, and from the past into the future.
Next time you are looking for hands-free, Bluetooth earphones you know what you are looking at and you can actually communicate with the salesperson and perhaps even impart some knowledge on to them. Bluetooth hasn’t come very far in 20 years, but that’s because it was already ahead of it’s time. It took a while for other devices to grow into it. The potential for this technology is only just now being fully explored.
If nothing else you now have the answer for how Bluetooth earphones work, for the next time it comes up at trivia night.