What is Bluetooth?

Understanding Bluetooth

Bluetooth provides convenience and helps increase the productivity that devices have by taking cables and clutter out of the workspace. With the help of this technology, people can access smart devices over a short distance, have wireless communication while on the go and perform mobile printing with their devices.

Bluetooth allows data exchange between devices, like mobile computers, printers and tablets, by using wavelength UHF radio frequency. Bluetooth strengthens the bottom line by eliminating cable-related costs while enabling device-to-device connections. With the help of this technology, people can execute everyday tasks hands-free. The vast majority of desktop computers, laptops, tablets, cell phones, printers, speakers and smart home devices that are available in today's market support Bluetooth connectivity. Bluetooth has quickly gone from a funny-sounding, misunderstood emerging technology to one of the most-valued features demanded by enterprise mobile computer users today.

What is Bluetooth Technology?

Bluetooth is a global standard for a small radio module to be plugged into computers, printers, mobile phones, etc. A Bluetooth radio is designed to replace cables by taking the information normally carried by the cable and transmitting it over radio frequency in the unlicensed 2.4 GHz frequencies to a receiver Bluetooth radio chip. This technology not only enhances the convenience and productivity of various devices by taking cables and clutter out of the workspace but also enhances the bottom line by eliminating cable-related costs. Bluetooth is a wireless technology that allows the data exchange between devices, like mobile phones and computers, using wavelength UHF radio frequency.

What is the Wavelength of Bluetooth Waves?

Bluetooth uses short-wavelength UHF radio waves that have a frequency of around 2,400,000,000 to 2,485,000,000Hz. This is the equivalent of 2.4 to 2.485GHz, which is the standard range that the Federal Communications Commission set for low-power general usage. The 2.4 to 2.485GHz frequency range is a part of the unlicensed Industrial, Scientific, and Medical (ISM) radio bands, which are designated by international regulatory bodies for various non-communication purposes. This spectrum allocation allows Bluetooth to operate without requiring individual licenses, making it more accessible and cost-effective for manufacturers and consumers alike.

The 2.4GHz frequency band, being an internationally designated ISM band, is available for unlicensed use in most countries worldwide. This global compatibility is one of the reasons why Bluetooth has become a ubiquitous technology and enjoys widespread adoption in a wide range of electronic devices.

What is Bluetooth Used for?

Bluetooth has many applications for this technology both in everyday, personal activities as well as industrial and business applications. Bluetooth is a technology that utilizes a radio frequency to share data over a short distance, diminishing the need to rely on and use wires. Bluetooth is used for pairing devices such as printers and beacons to other fixed or other Bluetooth-enabled devices. With Bluetooth now paired between devices, data can be shared simultaneously.

Bluetooth enables wireless devices to share and transfer files. Mobile devices can now connect with Bluetooth speakers and play music from their phones to the connected speakers. Warehouse workers are able to scan a barcode with a scanner on one hand and quickly print out a label on the other.

How Does Bluetooth Work?

For Bluetooth to function correctly, devices must have Bluetooth enabled and must be within range of each other. Once both devices are in proximity, the devices to which a user wishes to connect must be paired. An automatic message will appear on both devices prompting a message asking if you would like to pair with another. This means that both devices trust the other to exchange data simultaneously. This exchange is secure via encryption. Once devices are paired, Bluetooth can now start to effectively work by using low-power radio wave technology on a frequency band of 2.4 GHz.

Bluetooth Communication Modes

Bluetooth technology operates in different modes: "discoverable" and "connectable." When a device is in "discoverable" mode, it actively seeks out other nearby devices to establish a connection. When it's in "connectable" mode, it allows other devices to initiate a connection with it. Devices can be set to one or both of these modes, depending on the user's preferences and security considerations.

Pairing and Authentication

Pairing is a crucial step in establishing a secure Bluetooth connection between devices. During pairing, devices exchange authentication keys to ensure that the devices can trust each other and establish a secure channel for data exchange. This process involves a series of cryptographic challenges and responses to verify the devices' identities. Once paired, devices store the shared encryption keys for future communication sessions.


Bluetooth communication is secured through encryption. After successful pairing, devices use encryption algorithms to encode the data they exchange. This prevents unauthorized parties from intercepting and understanding the data being transmitted between devices. The encryption key is unique to each paired device and session, making it difficult for malicious actors to decipher the information.

Is Bluetooth a Secure Connection?

You may be wondering: how secure is Bluetooth? Bluetooth connections are wireless connections that are considered to be relatively secure. For security reasons, Bluetooth devices usually need to be paired before they can start transferring information and files. Connections are commonly encrypted, adding a layer of protection from other devices that may be nearby.

What is a Bluetooth Beacon?

A Blutooth beacon is Bluetooth technology that is an active RFID Technology. Bluetooth Beacons give you the actionable insights you need to make your business more effective, competitive and profitable. A Bluetooth beacon is usually a small, wireless device. It securely transmits a continuous radio signal that nearby smart devices can see. Beacons usually work by using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). BLE transmits fewer data over a smaller range. This is why it consumes less energy.

What is Bluetooth Low Energy Used For?

Low energy beacons transmit location data to mobile devices or dedicated gateways and forward them over Wi-Fi or mobile to a platform (middleware) that turns them into location data. Examples include situations where a system needs to be installed without disruption of business processes (i.e. healthcare), where you are using people’s existing equipment (cellphones, mobile computers) to crowdsource the location of your assets. Another case for Bluetooth low-energy beacons is to provide inexpensive, easily installed pay points that a retailer’s loyalty app, on consumers' smartphones, can use to drive customer engagement.

What is 802.11b?

802.11g is a form of Wi-Fi created for transferring information via wireless networks. It operates on a 2.4 GHz bandwidth and supports data transfer rates of up to 54 Mbps. One of the key advantages of 802.11g is its backward compatibility with older Wi-Fi standards. Devices that support 802.11g can also communicate with devices using the older 802.11b standard. This ensures seamless connectivity with a wide range of older devices. 

The 2.4 GHz frequency used by 802.11g provides a relatively better range compared to higher-frequency Wi-Fi standards like 802.11a. The lower frequency allows Wi-Fi signals to penetrate walls and obstacles better, making it suitable for providing Wi-Fi coverage in larger areas or buildings. Also, since the 2.4 GHz band has been a standard for Wi-Fi for a long time, most Wi-Fi-enabled devices, including tablets, mobile computers and IoT devices, support this frequency. This widespread compatibility makes it easier for devices to connect to 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi networks, ensuring better connectivity and coverage for a wide range of devices.

Can 802.11b/g and Bluetooth coexist in the same environment?

Bluetooth and 802.11b/g share the same spectral band (2.4 GHz). Therefore, cross-interference will be inevitable. A reduction in throughput can result. In general, Bluetooth devices are less susceptible to coexistence problems because of the following reasons:

Bluetooth is a frequency-hopping spread spectrum (FHSS) technology, which means if a channel is busy, Bluetooth will immediately hop to a different channel to transmit the packet of information. 802.11b/g uses direct sequence spread spectrum (DSSS) technology, which has a different method to transmit signals. Shorter packets—Bluetooth packets are typically a fraction of a millisecond long compared with a few milliseconds for 802.11b/g. This reduces their collision susceptibility. Bluetooth is less considerate. An 802.11b/g station first waits for silence and only then transmits. Bluetooth, on the other hand, is inconsiderate of surrounding transmissions—it simply “barges in” whenever it has something to transmit. In summary, these technologies can coexist. Several manufacturers have developed coexistent schemes. However, if the number of Bluetooth devices is very large around a wireless network (802.11b/g), most likely the throughput of the 802.11b/g devices will be affected. Zebra QL Plus and RW series mobile printers can include both Bluetooth and 802.11b/g radios, but can’t use the two radios simultaneously.

What are the Advantages of Bluetooth?

Bluetooth has become a “must-have” feature for many enterprise mobile computer users because of the reliability, convenience and cost savings it provides. Bluetooth is a fast, secure option for mobile printing that can be used indoors or out to support productivity-improving processes. Any operation where printer cables can tangle, break, or otherwise inconvenience the user is a candidate for improvement with Bluetooth connectivity. Zebra offers a complete range of mobile printers with flexible, configurable Bluetooth connectivity options. Contact Zebra today to learn more about how our products and expertise can help improve your route accounting operations. Zebra Technologies Corporation helps companies identify, locate and track assets, transactions and people with on-demand specialty digital printing and automatic identification solutions. In more than 100 countries around the world, more than 90 percent of Fortune 500 companies use innovative and reliable Zebra printers, supplies, RFID products and software to increase productivity, improve quality, lower costs and deliver better customer service. Information about Zebra and Zebra-brand products can be found at www.zebra.com.

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