Anytime you try to do anything online these days, the system either insists that you use Bluetooth (headphones and other Bluetooth devices) or insists that you get rid of it (refreshing Sirius XM). Most of us have heard of Bluetooth, but if asked, what is Bluetooth, would be completely unable to answer the question.
Bluetooth is a short-range technology for wireless communication. It allows wireless devices like mobile phones to transmit data or voice wirelessly over short distances. Bluetooth's purpose was to replace the USB cables that ordinarily connected electronic devices while securely maintaining the communication between the devices. Named for Harald Bluetooth, a Denish King, Bluetooth technology brings together various devices throughout different industries by using a unifying communication standard.
First developed in 1994, Bluetooth was designed as a wireless technology for replacing cables. It uses short-wavelength UHF radio waves at 2.4GHz frequency, as do cordless mobile phones and WiFi routers. Bluetooth creates, in effect, a personal area network (PAN) or piconet with a 10-meter diameter. The piconet can network between two and eight wireless devices. This allows you to send your streaming signal to all your smart TVs and pages to your printers without running cables.
Bluetooth offers some significant communication advantages. Among these are:
Of course, there are also disadvantages to using Bluetooth. Some of them include:
There are several types of Bluetooth technologies.
The short answer to the question of Bluetooth's range is longer than a meter but as long as a kilometer, depending on the circumstances. Factors entering into the effective range of a Bluetooth connection include:
When two Bluetooth devices connect for the first time, this is a pairing that you must approve. That approval requirement helps to make Bluetooth relatively secure. Usually, the devices will remember one another and connect automatically after that.
Ionizing electromagnetic radiant energy (EMR) is a general term for the various waves of the electromagnetic field. Ionizing EMR is short-length, higher frequency waves. They include x-rays and gamma rays. Ionizing EMR has longer waves and lower frequencies and cannot make changes in an atom. Bluetooth is non-ionizng. These rays can pass through the human body, causing no harm. Since Bluetooth is non-ionizing, it is considered safe and has a low specific absorption rate, also evidence that it lacks danger.
Bluesmacking is a common attack format in which a hacker or other adversary floods your Bluetooth by transferring large data packets to your Bluetooth device. The goal is to create a medium severity Denial of Service event. Fortunately, this attack must be executed close to the Bluetooth-enabled device.
Bluejacking is a style of hacking that allows an individual to send anonymous messages to Bluetooth-enabled devices within a certain radius of the attacker. The jacker scans the area for devices and then sends an unsolicited message. It does not actually hijack your device, such as a mobile phone, and can be avoided by putting your device on invisible status.
Bluesnarfing is a severe attack seeking to steal your wireless device information through a Bluetooth connection. By exploiting the way Bluetooth works on a cellphone, an attacker can access your calendar appointments, contact details, and emails and texts, leaving no trace of the theft behind. Operating in invisible mode helps in some but not all Bluetooth devices.
Bluebugging is a hack that allows the hacker to access any devices with a discoverable Bluetooth connection. Once the targeted device accesses a pre-rigged link, the attacker can fully control the device. The hacker can read and send messages, access the phonebook, and initiate or listen in on phone calls. Bluebugging initially focused on computers but has now focused its attention on smartphones. It is similar to bugging a landline phone, but the bugger doesn't need physical access to the phone.
There are ways to provide your Bluetooth devices and use Bluetooth safely. Among the best safety practices are:
A VPN can make your system more secure, but it doesn't really help with your Bluetooth. Nonetheless, they have so many benefits that you probably should consider one.
Today, Bluetooth is central to the use of wireless peripherals for computers and other wireless devices. Bluetooth is becoming a popular means of operating our entertainment devices. It's faster than infrared and more responsive. You can also use Bluetooth to tether your phone and laptop together. Tethering allows you to transfer files, share your mobile data or WiFi on your phone with your computer.
There is a world of other devices that can be connected via Bluetooth: your Bluetooth mouse can connect to your PC, tablet, or even smartphone; so will your Bluetooth keyboard. Bluetooth isn't just for your phone or other mobile device in your car. It lets you listen to smartphone music on a wireless headset in your car or use your car speakers and tether a smartphone to your GPS for live updates. WiFi printers often connect via Bluetooth as well. Finally, Bluetooth can help you control all your smart home systems, like Amazon Echo and Google Home.
Ultimately, the question isn't what is Bluetooth. Instead, the question or questions should be how can Bluetooth continue to expand the world? What other wireless technologies will it be useful for? It may seem like an old technology, but it continues to find new uses and new devices to connect.
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