You are here: > Documents > Bluetooth > Bluetooth FAQ

Bluetooth FAQ

Q: What is Bluetooth?

A: Bluetooth is the name for a short-range radio frequency (RF) technology that operates at 2.4 GHz and is capable of transmitting voice and data. The effective range of Bluetooth devices is 32 feet (10 meters). Bluetooth transfers data at the rate of 1 Mbps, which is from three to eight times the average speed of parallel and serial ports, respectively.

Q: Why is the technology called Bluetooth?

A: The heart of the Bluetooth brand identity is the name, which refers to the Danish king Harald "Bluetooth" Blaatand who unified Denmark and Norway. In the beginning of the Bluetooth wireless technology era, Bluetooth was aimed at unifying the telecom and computing industries.

Q: How is Bluetooth used?

A: Bluetooth can be used to wirelessly synchronize and transfer data among devices. Bluetooth can be thought of as a cable replacement technology. Typical uses include automatically synchronizing contact and calendar information among desktop, notebook and palmtop computers without connecting cables. Bluetooth can also be used to access a network or the Internet with a notebook computer by connecting wirelessly to a cellular phone.

Q: What is the future direction of the Bluetooth standard?

A: At this time, we anticipate the Bluetooth SIG to evolve the Bluetooth technology to provide greater bandwidth and distances, thus increasing the potential platforms and applications used in the emerging personal area networking marketplace

Q: Where can I find more information on Bluetooth?

A: The following web sites are useful Bluetooth resources:

Q: How secure is a Bluetooth network?

A: Bluetooth is extremely secure in that it employs several layers of data encryption and user authentication measures. Bluetooth devices use a combination of the Personal Identification Number (PIN) and a Bluetooth address to identify other Bluetooth devices. Data encryption (i.e., 128-bit) can be used to further enhance the degree of Bluetooth security. The transmission scheme (FHSS) provides another level of security in itself. Instead of transmitting over one frequency within the 2.4 GHz band, Bluetooth radios use a fast frequency-hopping spread spectrum (FHSS) technique, allowing only synchronized receivers to access the transmitted data.

Q: What is Frequency-Hopping Spread Spectrum (FHSS)?

A: Frequency-Hopping Spread-Spectrum (FHSS) is a spread spectrum modulation scheme that uses a narrowband carrier that changes frequency in a pattern known to both transmitter and receiver. Properly synchronized, they maintain a single logical channel. To an unintended receiver, FHSS appears as short-duration impulse noise. More simply, the data is broken down into packets and transmitted to the receiver of other devices over numerous "hop frequencies" (79 total) in a pseudo random pattern. Only transmitters and receivers that are synchronized on the same hop frequency pattern will have access to the transmitted data. The transmitter switches hop frequencies 1,600 times per second to assure a high degree of data security.

Q: Will other RF (Radio Frequency) devices interfere with Bluetooth Devices?

A: No. Bluetooth radios operate on the unlicensed 2.4 GHz (Industrial, Scientific and Medical) frequency band that is shared among other devices (microwave ovens, cordless phones, garage door openers, etc. ). Bluetooth radios switch frequencies at such a rapid pace (1,600 times per second) and the data packets are so small that interference from other RF sources is highly unlikely. Bluetooth is a robust communication system.

Q: Will Bluetooth and Wireless LAN (WLAN) interfere with each other?

A: No, both Bluetooth and WLAN can co-exist. Since Bluetooth devices use Frequency Hopping and most WLANs use Direct Sequence Spreading techniques they each appear as background noise to the other and should not cause any perceivable performance issues.

Q: What is the data throughput speed of a Bluetooth connection?

A: Bluetooth transfers data at a rate of 721 Kbps, which is from three to eight times the average speed of parallel and serial ports, respectively. This bandwidth is capable of transmitting voice, data, video and still images.

Q: What is the range of Bluetooth transmitter/receivers?

A: Bluetooth is designed for very low power use, and the transmission range will only be 10m, about 30ft. High-powered Bluetooth devices will enable ranges up to 100m (300ft). Considering the design philosophy behind Bluetooth, even the 10m range is adequate for the purposes Bluetooth is intended for. Later versions of the Bluetooth spec may allow longer ranges.

Q: What kind of encryption will be used for Bluetooth security?

A: The Bluetooth specification 1.0 describes the link encryption algorithm as a stream cipher using 4 LFSR (linear feedback shift registers). The sum of the width of the LFSRs is 128, and the spec says "the effective key length is selectable between 8 and 128 bits". This arrangement allows Bluetooth to be used in countries with regulations limiting encryption strength, and "facilitate a future upgrade path for the security without the need for a costly redesign of the algorithms and encryption hardware" according to the Bluetooth specification. Key generation and authentication seems to be using the 8-round SAFER+ encryption algorithm. The information available suggests that Bluetooth security will be adequate for most purposes; but users with higher security requirements will need to employ stronger algorithms to ensure the security of their data.

Q: Is Bluetooth practical for use with mobile devices?

A: Yes. One concern for mobile computing users is power consumption. Bluetooth radios are very low power, drawing as little as 0.3mA in standby mode and 30mA during sustained data transmissions. Bluetooth radios alternate among power-saving modes in which device activity is lowered to maximize the mobile power supply.

Q: What is a Personal Area Network (PAN)?

A: A Personal Area Network is another name for a Bluetooth Piconet.

Q: What is HomeRF ?

A: HomeRFlike Bluetooth is a specification for connectivity and mobility in a home-like environment. HomeRF Working Group has developed a specification for wireless communications in the home called the Shared Wireless Access Protocol (SWAP). This specification is not free and comes at a cost of $500 . you can find more information at website.

Q: Are different brands of Bluetooth products compatible?

A: Yes. They have to. The Bluetooth Logo Certification Program requires Bluetooth products to interoperate with products manufactured by other vendors; those products that don't interoperate will not be allowed to use the Bluetooth logo.

Q: Can Bluetooth products be used on aircraft?

A: The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and other aviation regulatory bodies worldwide are currently reviewing the use of Bluetooth products on private and commercial aircraft. In the U.S. the FAA is the governing body to grant approval for Bluetooth product use on aircraft; therefore, we must defer to their impending ruling.

Q: What companies are involved in the Bluetooth initiative?

A: Global technology leaders Ericsson, Nokia, IBM, Intel and Toshiba founded the Bluetooth SIG in 1998. These companies are now supported by over 1,000 other organizations with a wide range of expertise, including Widcomm, Inc.

Q: What types of companies are likely to adopt or promote Bluetooth technology?

A: Companies likely to adopt this technology include, but are not limited to, software developers, network vendors, silicon vendors, peripheral and camera manufacturers, mobile PC and handheld device manufacturers, consumer electronics manufacturers and more.

Q: Are there any patents or licenses involved?

A: Yes, there are several patents on different parts of the technology. Because of this, all licensees will have to sign a zero cost license agreement to cover IP and naming.

Q: What is the estimated size of the market?

A: Market research studies at several leading companies involved with Bluetooth technology expect a total of 250 million Bluetooth-enabled devices, ranging from headsets to mobile and desktop computers, will be shipped in 2002.

Q: Where can I get Bluetooth specification ? Is it license free ?

A: Bluetooth specification can be downloaded from which has more comprehensive information about and its SIG. It is totally free and no license is required to use it.

Q: Is Bluetooth an IEEE standard, like IEEE 802.11 and Ethernet?

A: Being an IEEE standard will be a big plus to widespread adoption of Bluetooth, and IEEE 802.15 working group for personal area networks (PAN) announced that they will be adopting Bluetooth as the IEEE 802.15 standard.

Q: How much will Bluetooth devices cost?

A: Bluetooth devices are expected to cost $20 initially (first half of 2000); but will drop to around $5 with widespread adoption and economies of scale.

Q: What is it - a technology, a standard, an initiative, or a product?

A: Bluetooth wireless technology is a de facto standard, as well as a specification for small-form factor, low-cost, short range radio links between mobile PCs, mobile phones and other portable devices. The Bluetooth Special Interest Group is an industry group consisting of leaders in the telecommunications, computing, and networking industries that are driving development of the technology and bringing it to market.