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Bluetooth is a very exciting new technology, which is rapidly working its way onto the pc market and not in the least almost all other forms of household and entertainment electronics. Bluetooth is a standard for digital radio based (wireless) data transfer.

It can be built into cellular phones, microphones, PDA's, remote controls and many other applications. The first units on the market are interfaces to the USB port.

3 in one telephone

In principle Bluetooth can give you a personal telephone. It can be coupled to the local phone net in the office. At home it couples to your regular private phone line, and when you are on the road it works like a regular cell phone.

Bluetooth adds new flexibility to private networks, where each unit is automatically coupled to the other units. It will be able to replace the not particularly successful infrared transfer (IrDA), which is currently used for communication between portable pc's and cell phones. But the expectations go far beyond this. We are talking about Personal Area Networks (PAN), where you have lots of portable equipment in your home. They can all be synchronized and communicate without the use of wires. Similarly the digital camera, scanner and printer can also be connected wirelessly to the pc. Here Bluetooth becomes a real smart, simple and inexpensive common denominator.

Bluetooth transmits radio waves at 2.45 GHz. They are transmitted with a power of 1 milli Watt (0 dBm) that provides a maximum range of 10 meters. The individual units can continually changes frequencies, which allow them to send and receive data under nearly all circumstances. Thus they are not sensitive to electric noise.

The whole Bluetooth is a tiny chip measuring 9 x 9 mm. Data can be transmitted + three voice channels (?). Each unit receives a unique 48-bit address from the IEEE 802 standard. So in principle they each have their own private network address wherever they are located. The units also have built-in security and encrypting functions.

Data transmission speed varies between 500 kbit and 2 mbit per second, so we are not talking about a high speed net.

Bluetooth is a gang of nine companies such as 3Com, Lucent, Microsoft and Motorola. So we are talking about some big guys behind this enterprise, and thousands of companies are already working on developing Bluetooth accessories.


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Copyright (c) 1996-2005 by Michael B. Karbo.