Chapter 13: Wireless Communications using Bluetooth

Oge Marques and Nitish Barman

13.1 Introduction

Bluetooth is a wireless communications standard that allows compliant devices to exchange information with each other. The technology makes use of the globally available, unlicensed ISM (Industrial, Scientific, and Medical) band. Although it was initially developed as a cable-replacement technology, it has grown into a standard that is designed to support an open-ended list of applications (including multimedia applications). As a short-range, low-power technology with data rates of up to 720 kbps, it is ideally suited for use in establishing ad hoc personal area networks (PANs).

The Bluetooth specification emerged from a study undertaken by Ericsson Mobile Communications in 1994 to find alternatives to using cables to facilitate communications between mobile phones and accessories. As this study grew in scope, other companies joined Ericsson's efforts to utilize radio links as cable replacements. In 1998 these companies - Ericsson, Intel, IBM, Toshiba, and Nokia - formally founded the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG). In July 1999 this core group of promoters published version 1.0 of the Bluetooth specification. [1] Shortly after the specification was published, the group of core promoters was enlarged further with the addition of four more companies: Microsoft, Agere Systems (a Lucent Technologies spin-off), 3COM, and Motorola.

In addition to the core promoters group, many hundreds of companies have joined the SIG as Bluetooth adopter companies. In fact, any incorporated company can join the SIG as an adopter company by signing the Bluetooth SIG membership agreement (available on the Bluetooth Web site [2]). Joining the SIG entitles an adopter company to a free license to build Bluetooth-based products, as well as the right to use the Bluetooth brand.

The list of adopter companies continues to grow in part because there is no cost associated with intellectual property rights, but primarily because there are so many potential applications and usage models for Bluetooth:

  1. Cordless desktop: In this cable-replacement usage model, all (or most) of the peripheral devices (e.g., mouse, keyboard, printer, speakers, etc.) are connected to the PC cordlessly.

  2. Ultimate headset: This usage model would allow one headset to be used with myriad devices, including telephones, portable computers, stereos, etc.

  3. Automatic synchronization: This usage model makes use of the hidden computing paradigm, which focuses on applications in which devices automatically carry out certain tasks on behalf of the user without user intervention or awareness. Consider the following scenario: A user attends a business meeting, exchanges contact information with other attendees, and stores this information on a PDA. Upon returning to the user's office, the PDA automatically establishes a Bluetooth link with the user's desktop PC and the information stored on the PDA is automatically uploaded to the PC. All this happens without the user's conscious involvement.

There are many other usage models that have been proposed by the Bluetooth SIG as well as other contributors. With increasing numbers of applications being developed around Bluetooth, it is highly likely that the technology will be well accepted by the market.

The remainder of this chapter is organized as follows. Section 13.2 provides a broad overview of the Bluetooth protocol stack and introduces some concepts and terminology. Section 13.3 gives a more-detailed explanation of the key features of the various layers of the Bluetooth protocol stack. Section 13.4 introduces the second volume of the Bluetooth specification, the Profile specification. It serves as a basic introduction to the concept of Bluetooth profiles, and gives a brief description of the fundamental profiles. Section 13.5 discusses security and power management issues, two items that are critical for the acceptance of Bluetooth in the consumer market. Finally, Section 13.6 concludes this chapter with some anecdotal evidence of the interest evinced in Bluetooth application development.

[1]The Official Bluetooth Web site,

[2]The Official Bluetooth Web site,

Wireless Internet Handbook. Technologies, Standards and Applications
Wireless Internet Handbook: Technologies, Standards, and Applications (Internet and Communications)
ISBN: 0849315026
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2003
Pages: 239 © 2008-2017.
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