How Bluetooth works to make us more wirelessly connected

Steve Smith talks about Bluetooth, how it changed the way we use our devices, how it works, and how to troubleshoot issues in Windows.

Episode #3-15 released on January 6, 2013

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Before 1994, no one expected a world with wireless ear pieces, Piconets, the ability to wireless sync our devices, or share the internet of one device with another. The concept of the wireless game controllers using radio waves wasn't even in our mind set. This environment, so long ago, and in most of your cases, at the beginning of your lives, was about to be pushed forward by one of many innovations, the one we are talking about today is Bluetooth. Created by Ericsson in 1994 to allow for easier and more accurate syncing of devices without the use of RS-232 cables operates in the 2400- 2480mhz band, you may know this to be the 2.4GHZ band. This is the same general RF signal band that WIFI operates in, and many other devices like cordless phones, even microwaves.

What is Bluetooth exactly, and how can it be used?

First, how about we explain what Bluetooth does in order to sync and some of the rules of connections. Bluetooth uses a master-slave scenario in order to allow devices to connect to each other. Your cellphone is the master of your ear piece. Your computer is the master of many other devices like speakers, portable devices, etc... The one thing that is important is that there can only be one master, and a maximum of 7 slave devices, this is why consoles like the PS3 only has enough connections for 7 devices, your game controllers are considered slaves, your wireless headset, BD remote, etc... All the slave devices share the master's clock as a reference, and they create a type of Personal Area Network (PAN) also known as a Piconet.

You can now use a computer with Bluetooth to sync your phone, play music on your wireless speakers, send an SMS on your cellphone, play a video game using a Bluetooth enabled wireless controller like those of the PS3, connect and transfer files to another computer, or laptop, even tablet, etc...

The most common forms of Bluetooth around are the Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR, 3.0 + HS and 4.0, and always require drivers in all operating systems to work, and work usually without issue within a range of up to 30 feet, provided no line of sight obstructions, or signal degradation caused by interference.

Typical issues with computers attempting to use Bluetooth may include interference, corrupted or out of date drivers. The easiest way to confirm the issue is related to a software driver issue is to download the latest drivers from Broadcom at If updating the driver doesn't fix the issue with your computer, you may try relocation, if possible, the Bluetooth receiver. Best judgment for placement of such a receiver is line of sight. If you can see it, you should be able to connect to it.

Next week, I'll be teaching you how to protect your computer using proximity detection with Bluetooth using your cellphone as a means of remotely and automatically locking your computer when you are away.

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Host : Steve Smith | Music : Jonny Lee Hart | Editor : Steve Smith | Producer : Zed Axis Productions

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