How a Bluetooth Headset Works

Bluetooth headset technology has been around for quite some time now. Aside from making our lives easier with wireless hands free headsets, we should also be thankful of the convenience of being able to wirelessly exchange information with laptops and desktop computers using Bluetooth dongles or built-in Bluetooth transmitters in computers. To the uninitiated, Bluetooth may easily seem like magic, because you're essentially transferring data from one gadget to another over the air.

You don't need to be an engineer or rocket scientist to be curious about technology, such as how Bluetooth works. Here's a simplified outline of how a wireless headset works.

  1. A Bluetooth device emits a signal using an extremely low power radio transmission and through an ultra-high (UHF) frequency. This allows it to communicate with other devices only within a vicinity of 10 meters or so.
  2. Bluetooth communicates by sending and processing signals at two levels: the physical level (one that transmits on a radio-frequency) level, and protocol level (mostly concerned with the "conversations" about standards and instruction between two devices).
  3. The signal emitted by a Bluetooth device is at a very high radio frequency. This ensures that the signal does not interfere with other lower-frequency radio transmissions, such as television and FM radio signals.
  4. While a signal from a Bluetooth device can go through thin materials like clothing, your body and the like, these radio signals cannot usually go through walls because of low power. Since Bluetooth technology allows for connectivity within a vicinity, earphones can actually connect simultaneously up to eight devices. And even with several devices interacting within a small area, it's still possible for the equipment to co-exist, because of a technique called spread-spectrum frequency hopping. This means that each device is transmitting at a different signal, even if they share the same frequency, and is still within the range allotted for Bluetooth devices.
  5. The Bluetooth devices form a network of high frequency waves called a piconet. Devices within a piconet communicate with each other by transmitting signals at different frequencies and levels and shifting from one level to another to accommodate other transmissions.
  6. Unfortunately, a Bluetooth connection is not always secure. Since the transmissions are sent out in the open, persons with malicious intent can eavesdrop, if your transmission is not secure. There are ways to make the piconet in your house or office more secure, though. The best way is to turn off the Bluetooth function whenever it is not in use. If this approach is not that feasible, you can use the security feature that requires other devices to first produce a passcode before being allowed into the piconet. You can also turn off "discoverability," so that your device will only be "seen" by other devices that know your gadget's ID.

Bluetooth technology has truly revolutionized the way we talk on our mobile phones. While wired headsets will pretty much let you talk hands free, too, Bluetooth headsets give you the convenience of a truly wireless experience. Using a Bluetooth headset is also cooler than using wired variants.


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