What Exactly is Bluetooth Technology?



The end part of the twentieth century has really been marked by a lot of incredible inventions and brand new technologies that has changed how things work in our modern world. For instance, computers have not existed until the second half of the twentieth century and its development continued on until our day. At present, we see different types of devices all offering common features which are geared towards helping people do things a lot easier compared to how they were done a decade or two ago.

Among the most useful technologies that are widely used today are the USB connectors and ports, WiFi and Bluetooth and we see all of these three in every device that are available at present. In this tutorial, we will get to know more about the Bluetooth feature, its history, uses and application and as well as learn how you can get it on your Windows machine. If you’ve long been wondering what this feature is that is on your Windows device then you will need to read this tutorial so you can get familiar with it and start using the technology in transferring data wirelessly or connecting to other Bluetooth enabled devices to transmit sound and other stuff that can travel through this medium.

Brief History of the Bluetooth Technology

Bluetooth has been around for more than two decades. It was invented in 1994 by the company Ericsson which is based in Sweden. The management of all standards in Bluetooth devices and technology has been under the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) since 1998. The body also oversees the development and licensing of all companies who are wanting to incorporate the Bluetooth wireless technology into their products.

The Bluetooth SIG organization seeks the development of newer standards and designs better and improved versions in order to make the technology a lot more useful. They also protect the Bluetooth trademarks from being copied illegally. Bluetooth SIG does not, in any way produce or sell any device that has the technology. The companies that are members of the group manufacture those devices and incorporate Bluetooth to it according to the standards and guidelines set by the organization. If a company is seeking to get license for Bluetooth technologies, it must be a member of the Bluetooth Special Interest Group and will also undergo some strict certification process.

Bluetooth Facts

Because of its name, you might be thinking that Bluetooth sounds like an alias of a monster, alien or any other creepy creature out there but actually, this technology is just a standard for radio communication that is designed and built for communicating between different types of devices over short distances. “Bluetooth” is the codename that was first used by the Special Interest Group when it was first formed. The name is said to be taken from a Danish king in the 10th Century named Harald Blatand translated as Harold Bluetooth in English. This Danish King is the first one to unite conflicting factions in some areas of Denmark, Norway and Sweden.

There are currently three types of Bluetooth radio which are available at present. The description and uses of each one of them is enumerated below:

  • Class 1- This type of Bluetooth radio is commonly used in industrial environments providing a signal range of up to 300 feet (100 meters). This extended range uses more power compared to the other two which is rated at 100 mW.
  • Class 2- This is the most commonly used Bluetooth radio which has a range that reaches up to 33 feet (10 meters). It power consumption is also lower than the first one which is only at 2.5 mW.
  • Class 3- The lowest in terms of power consumption which is rated at 1mW, Class 3 Bluetooth radio has a range of 3.3 feet or 1 meter.


Not all devices that contain a Bluetooth chip are Bluetooth capable. This means that they can’t transfer files and do some other things that a full-fledged Bluetooth capable device can do. The only use of the Bluetooth chip is to communicate with computers and other devices like headsets, speakers and other wireless peripherals. Bluetooth can also be found in Sony Playstation and Nintendo Wii gaming consoles so they can be linked with their game controllers. Tablets and laptops also have Bluetooth radio chips and as well as other audio systems such as those that are found in cars and at home. Other common uses of Bluetooth are in health related devices like heart rate monitors and exercise equipment like the Nike+ training shoes.

Commonly Used Bluetooth Versions

The most widely used Bluetooth version in smartphones and other devices like headsets and speakers is Bluetooth 3.0. This version was first used in the 21st of April 2009 and has a data transfer rate reaching up to 24 Mbit per second. The Nokia Lumia 920 smartphone is one of the available devices at present that uses Bluetooth 3.0 version.

In the 30th of June 2010, a newer version was released and was named Bluetooth 4.0. It is an improved one compared to 3.0 in terms of power consumption but it maintains the same data transfer speed rate. Samsung’s Galaxy S3 smartphone and the iPhone 5 are among the devices that uses this Bluetooth version and the number of devices using Bluetooth 4.0 is growing as more and more models are coming out.

Getting Bluetooth on Your Computer

Almost all of the laptops,tablets and smartphones that run the Windows operating system are Bluetooth-capable. This means that they can transfer files or connect to other Bluetooth-enabled devices like headsets and speakers via this technology. However, most PCs and desktop computers especially the older ones don’t have the Bluetooth chip in them. In order to make your home desktop computer Bluetooth-capable, you will need to purchase a device that is called a “USB Bluetooth Adapter” which looks like the one shown on the screenshot below.

There are several manufacturers who produce such device and the prizes may vary but you can surely find one in your nearest computer tech and equipment shop or you can also search Amazon or Ebay for it. Before paying for your purchase, you will also need to make sure that the device supports Bluetooth 3.0 or Bluetooth 4.0. Don’t be fooled by the price because in most cases, the cheaper Bluetooth USB adapters only support Bluetooth 2.1 version which is slower in terms of data transfer rate but higher in power consumption. If possible, find an adapter that has a higher price and make sure to read its specifications which should include Bluetooth 3.0 or 4.0 support.

Installing your new Bluetooth USB Adapter should not be that hard because most of these devices are plug-and-play. If your computer is on Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 then it should automatically detect the device, install the needed drivers and you’re ready to go. In rare cases, you will need to install the drivers using the disk that is included with the device packaging or download the latest drivers for the device from the manufacturer’s website.