Wireless Communication - Bluetooth

Bluetooth wireless technology is a short range communications technology intended to replace the cables connecting portable unit and maintaining high levels of security. Bluetooth technology is based on Ad-hoc technology also known as Ad-hoc Pico nets, which is a local area network with a very limited coverage.

History of Bluetooth

WLAN technology enables device connectivity to infrastructure based services through a wireless carrier provider. The need for personal devices to communicate wirelessly with one another without an established infrastructure has led to the emergence of Personal Area Networks (PANs).

  • Ericsson's Bluetooth project in 1994 defines the standard for PANs to enable communication between mobile phones using low power and low cost radio interfaces.

  • In May 1988, Companies such as IBM, Intel, Nokia and Toshiba joined Ericsson to form the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) whose aim was to develop a defacto standard for PANs.

  • IEEE has approved a Bluetooth based standard named IEEE 802.15.1 for Wireless Personal Area Networks (WPANs). IEEE standard covers MAC and Physical layer applications.

Bluetooth specification details the entire protocol stack. Bluetooth employs Radio Frequency (RF) for communication. It makes use of frequency modulation to generate radio waves in the ISM band.


The usage of Bluetooth has widely increased for its special features.

  • Bluetooth offers a uniform structure for a wide range of devices to connect and communicate with each other.

  • Bluetooth technology has achieved global acceptance such that any Bluetooth enabled device, almost everywhere in the world, can be connected with Bluetooth enabled devices.

  • Low power consumption of Bluetooth technology and an offered range of up to ten meters has paved the way for several usage models.

  • Bluetooth offers interactive conference by establishing an adhoc network of laptops.

  • Bluetooth usage model includes cordless computer, intercom, cordless phone and mobile phones.

Piconets and Scatternets

Bluetooth enabled electronic devices connect and communicate wirelessly through shortrange devices known as Piconets. Bluetooth devices exist in small ad-hoc configurations with the ability to act either as master or slave the specification allows a mechanism for master and slave to switch their roles. Point to point configuration with one master and one slave is the simplest configuration.

When more than two Bluetooth devices communicate with one another, this is called a PICONET. A Piconet can contain up to seven slaves clustered around a single master. The device that initializes establishment of the Piconet becomes the master.

The master is responsible for transmission control by dividing the network into a series of time slots amongst the network members, as a part of time division multiplexing scheme which is shown below.


The features of Piconets are as follows −

  • Within a Piconet, the timing of various devices and the frequency hopping sequence of individual devices is determined by the clock and unique 48-bit address of master.

  • Each device can communicate simultaneously with up to seven other devices within a single Piconet.

  • Each device can communicate with several piconets simultaneously.

  • Piconets are established dynamically and automatically as Bluetooth enabled devices enter and leave piconets.

  • There is no direct connection between the slaves and all the connections are essentially master-to-slave or slave-to-master.

  • Slaves are allowed to transmit once these have been polled by the master.

  • Transmission starts in the slave-to-master time slot immediately following a polling packet from the master.

  • A device can be a member of two or more piconets, jumping from one piconet to another by adjusting the transmission regime-timing and frequency hopping sequence dictated by the master device of the second piconet.

  • It can be a slave in one piconet and master in another. It however cannot be a master in more than once piconet.

  • Devices resident in adjacent piconets provide a bridge to support inner-piconet connections, allowing assemblies of linked piconets to form a physically extensible communication infrastructure known as Scatternet.


Bluetooth technology operates in the unlicensed industrial, scientific and medical (ISM) band at 2.4 to 2.485 GHZ, using a spread spectrum hopping, full-duplex signal at a nominal rate of 1600 hops/sec. the 2.4 GHZ ISM band is available and unlicensed in most countries.


Bluetooth operating range depends on the device Class 3 radios have a range of up to 1 meter or 3 feet Class 2 radios are most commonly found in mobile devices have a range of 10 meters or 30 feet Class 1 radios are used primarily in industrial use cases have a range of 100 meters or 300 feet.

Data rate

Bluetooth supports 1Mbps data rate for version 1.2 and 3Mbps data rate for Version 2.0 combined with Error Data Rate.