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Tech Explainer: Bluetooth

Kevin Jacoby's picture

Submitted by Kevin Jacoby on
Blog Category: Storage

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Bluetooth is a wireless radio communication technology commonly used to connect peripherals like wireless keyboards and earbuds to a host device such as a smartphone or PC. By design, Bluetooth is easy to set up and operate. Once trust is established between two or more devices, subsequent connections can automatically provide speed and convenience.
 
There are currently two widely available types of Bluetooth. The more popular of the two, Bluetooth Low Energy (LE), requires less energy to operate and can offer point-to-point connections between two devices as well as broadcast or mesh network operations. 
 
Bluetooth Classic, also known as Bluetooth Enhanced Data Rate or EDR, is able to deliver a higher data rate—around 3 megabits per second versus up to 2 Mbs for Bluetooth LE. However, Bluetooth EDR can only establish a connection between two devices, which significantly limits its potential. 
 
The low-power radio waves by which Bluetooth operates occupy a narrow frequency band around 2.4 GHz. Bluetooth may seem under-equipped compared to WiFi, which operates at 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz and 6 GHz. But the tech can hop between up to seventy-nine 2.4 GHz channels, which enables it to offer a more reliable connection by seeking the clearest channel available at any time. 
 
Security is built into the Bluetooth protocol. The initial pairing process between a host device and a peripheral includes establishing special security keys that create a bond of trust between the two devices. Any devices attempting to connect without the correct security key will be denied until the user properly pairs it. 
 
The near future of Bluetooth
Bluetooth technology has secured itself as a valuable and ubiquitous communication technology. As such, the powers that be are likely to continue governing and releasing new features and versions as the world of consumer, enterprise and industrial electronics marches forward. 
 
One such feature is the improved audio quality and lower power consumption of Bluetooth LE Audio. Among its benefits, this update enables support for Auracast broadcasting, which offers a new generation of audio sharing, connection types and assistive listening technology. 
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