Who or What Is Bluetooth?

One of the most often talked about wireless standards, besides Wi-Fi, is Bluetooth. The bluetooth wireless technology, named for the tenth-century Danish King Harald Blatand “Bluetooth,” was invented by the L.M. Ericsson company of Sweden in 1994. King Harald helped unite his part of the world during a conflict around 960 AD. Ericsson intended for Bluetooth technology to unite the mobile world. In 1998, Ericsson, IBM, Intel, Nokia, and Toshiba founded the Bluetooth pecial Interest Group (SIG), Inc. to develop an open specification for always-on, short-range wireless connectivity based on Ericsson’s Bluetooth technology. Their specification was publicly released on July 26, 1999. The Bluetooth SIG now includes 3Com, Agere, Ericsson, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Motorola, Nokia, Toshiba, and nearly 2,000 other companies.

Dozens of Bluetooth-enabled products are already on the market, with many more on the way. Sometimes a network of devices communicating via Bluetooth is described as a personal area network (PAN) to distinguish it from a network of computers often called a local area network (LAN). In March 2002, the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) approved IEEE 802.15.1, a standard for wireless PANs (WPANs), which was adapted from portions of the Bluetooth wireless specification. IEEE 802.15.1 is fully compliant with the Bluetooth v1.1 specification. As IEEE worked toward the 802.15 standard, the Bluetooth SIG simultaneously has been working on Bluetooth Version 3.0.

Any new Bluetooth standard will likely also become an updated IEEE 802.15 standard. (Read more at the Bluetooth Web site at www.bluetooth.com.) The following is a small sampling of existing Bluetooth products:

  • Microsoft Wireless IntelliMouse Explorer for Bluetooth (a wireless mouse)
  • Microsoft Wireless Optical Desktop for Bluetooth (wireless multimedia center keyboard and mouse)
  • Sony digital video camera recorder
  • HP Deskjet 995c printer
  • HP iPAQ H5450 Pocket PC with Bluetooth (and Wi-Fi) onboard
  • Ericsson Bluetooth Phone Adapter
  • Motorola Bluetooth Handsfree Car Kit
  • Belkin Bluetooth Universal Serial Bus (USB) Adapter