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Bluetooth Introduction

Bluetooth is the name given to a new technology standard using short-range radio links, intended to replace the cable(s) connecting portable and/or fixed electronic devices. The standard defines a uniform structure for a wide range of devices to communicate with each other, with minimal user effort.

Its key features are robustness, low complexity, low power and low cost. The technology also offers wireless access to LANs, PSTN, the mobile phone network and the Internet for a host of home appliances and portable handheld interfaces.

The immediate need for Bluetooth came from the desire to connect peripherals and devices without cables. The available technology-IrDA OBEX (IR Data Association Object Exchange Protocol) is based in IR links that are limited to line of sight connections. Bluetooth integration is further fueled by the demand for mobile and wireless access to LANs, Internet over mobile and other existing networks, where the backbone is wired but the interface is free to move. This not only makes the network easier to use but also extends its reach. The advantages and rapid proliferation of LANs suggest that setting up personal area networks, that is, connections among devices in the proximity of the user, will have many beneficial uses.

Bluetooth could also be used in home networking applications. With increasing numbers of homes having multiple PCs, the need for networks that are simple to install and maintain, is growing. There is also the commercial need to provide "information push" capabilities, which is important for handheld and other such mobile devices and this has been partially incorporated in Bluetooth. Bluetooth's main strength is its ability to simultaneously handle both data and voice transmissions, allowing such innovative solutions as a mobile hands-free headset for voice calls, print to fax capability, and automatically synchronizing PDA, laptop, and cell phone address book applications.

These uses suggest that a technology like Bluetooth is extremely useful and will have a significant effect on the way information is accessed and used.