Nowadays a short word Bluetooth became very popular all over the globe. All people have heard that this technology is wireless. However, similar technologies existed much earlier, but none of them did not have in the past, and does not have in our times such a powerful and comprehensive support. Thus, let us explore why this technology is so popular, what the main principle of its work is, how to use the Bluetooth technology and be sure in its security, and what perspectives of its development are in the body of this paper.
At the beginning, giving general information about the Bluetooth technology it is important to state that Bluetooth is a firm and well-established communication standard for wireless communications over short distances. It replaces a bunch of separate cables joining one device to another via one universal radio link with a small radius of action. For example, a radio Bluetooth technology, built-in a cell phone and a laptop, replace the cable used today for connecting laptops to cell phones. Printers, personal computers, fax machines, keyboards, joysticks and virtually any other digital devices can be part of the Bluetooth technology. Radio Bluetooth technology also provides a universal bridge to existing data networks, interface peripheral devices, and provides a mechanism for the formation of small private groups of connected devices beyond the fixed network infrastructure.
Explaining why the Bluetooth technology is so popular in our society, we should pay a specific attention to the process of its creation. According to Booth, “Bluetooth takes its name from Harald Blatand (Blue Tooth), the 10th-century Danish king who cudgeled neighboring Viking chief tains into unifying Denmark and Norway. Even Bluetooth’s trademarked logo comes from the Norse runic letters for H and B. Name and logo evince the new technology’s partially Scandinavian heredity” (Booth, 2000). In our times, the technology was created by a group of companies, such as IBM, Ericsson, Intel, Toshiba and Nokia, in 1998. Currently, the development of Bluetooth is made by Bluetooth SIG (Special Interest Group), which also includes Lucent, Microsoft and many other companies.
The main purpose of Bluetooth – is support of cost-effective (in terms of current consumption) and low-cost radio communication between the various types of electronic devices, with considerable importance giving to the compactness of electronic components, which make possible to use Bluetooth devices in a compact size of a wrist watch.
In 1995, many industries, such as telecommunications and information technology, realized that the cost of an inexpensive and economical use of energy by radio, or wireless, is realistic and achievable (Devito, 2001). Therefore, at short distances it may well replace the cable link. It also would provide a basis to small portable devices to be connected to each other in a special way (ad hoc), given for a particular purpose. Studies were carried out, and soon there were decided the general outlines of the technology under the code name “Bluetooth”.
The aim of the creators of technology was to provide reliable service for mobile users and business users in the compact radio technology operating at short distances. This technology is expected to integrate a number of model lines in a wide range of different devices. In other words, the purpose of the founders was to create the technology which would be consistent with such specifications that optimize the use of all mobile, computing and communication devices, and also provide:
- Worldwide use;
- Work with voice and data transmission;
- Ability to set ad hoc connections (for special purposes);
- Ability to resist interference from other sources in the open strip;
- Very compact size for easy integration with various devices;
- Negligible power consumption compared to other devices designed for similar purposes;
- Open standard interface;
- Low cost (Lauerman, 2002).
The main principle of its work shows that physically, a typical Bluetooth device is a radio receiver and radio transmitter, operating on the frequency of 2400-2483.5 MHz. These frequencies are chosen not by chance, they are open and free of any licensing in most countries. The exceptions are Spain and France. Until recently, this company has been accompanied by Japan, but the problem was partially solved since October 1999, and now the Bluetooth device may use the full range of radio frequencies provided by the specifications of Bluetooth in Japan. However, some limitations in Japan still remain. According to Mcginn, Kudyba and Diwan, in Spain, the radio spectrum licensed for use Bluetooth devices is limited to 2445-2475 MHz, while in France, this spectrum is restricted to 2446.5-2483.5 MHz (Mcginn, Kudyba and Diwan, 2002). Therefore, Bluetooth devices designed specifically for France, Spain or Japan will not work with devices designed for the rest of the world. Accordingly, the converse is also true. Currently, the members of the Bluetooth consortium are working with the authorities of these countries, and there is a reason to believe that this situation will not last long.
Frequencies that are used in the technology determine the possibilities of Bluetooth data transmission. The width of the channel for Bluetooth devices is 723.2 kb/s in asynchronous mode (although even in this mode still remains up to 57.6 kb / s for simultaneous transmission in the opposite direction), or 433.9 kb/s in the fully synchronous mode (Richards, 2002). If no data is transmitted, then people can transmit up to three audio channels via a Bluetooth connection. Each of the audio channels is supported by 64 kb/s synchronous audio channel in each direction. In addition, a combined transmission of data and voice is also possible. Thus, Bluetooth interface allows to transmit both voice (with a rate of 64 kb/s) and data.
The Bluetooth chip, being a transceiver, operating on the frequency of 2.4 GHz allows to communicate within 10 or 100 meters, depending on the capacity. The difference in distance is certainly large, but the connection within 10 m keeps lower power consumption, small size and fairly inexpensive components. Thus, low-power transmitter consumes only 0.3 mA in standby mode, and an average of 30 mA in information sharing.
Bluetooth operates on the principle of FHSS (Frequency-Hopping Spread Spectrum). In summary it can be explained as follows: the transmitter divides data into packets and transmits them to pseudo-random frequency hopping algorithm (1600 times per second), or a template (pattern), compiled from 79 frequencies. To ‘understand’ each other can only those devices that are configured on the same pattern of transmission – for unauthorized devices transmitted information will be the usual noise (Pitler and Malenoski, 2007).
The main structural element of a Bluetooth network is a so-called ‘piconet’ – set of 2 to 8 devices operating on the same template. In each piconet one device acts as a master, and the other as a slave. Master defines a template on which operate all slave-devices of its piconet, and synchronizes its operation. Standard Bluetooth connection provides an independent and not even synchronized with each other piconets ( to 10) in the so-called ‘scatternet’. Each piconet pair must have at least one common unit, which will be a master in one piconet and a slave in other for this purpose. Thus, a maximum of 71 devices can be connected at the same time with Bluetooth within a single scatternet, but no one restricts the use of gate-devices, using the Internet for a long distance (Pitler and Malenoski, 2007).
In this part of the paper we can mention that it is very easy to use the Bluetooth technology, but speaking of wireless connection, the issue of security of such a connection is also necessary to discuss. In addition, a standard Bluetooth transceiver, besides the focus from frequency patterns and the need for synchronization, provides data encryption key to the effective length of 8 to 128 bits, and a choice of unilateral or mutual authentication (of course, users can do it without any authentication), which allows to provide the stability of the resulting encryption under the laws of each country (some countries prohibit the use of a strong cryptography) (Richards, 2002). In addition to encryption at the protocol level there can be applied encryption at the application level – the use of arbitrarily persistent algorithms has no limits at this stage.
Many users of the Bluetooth technology are often faced to the view that Bluetooth-enabled devices can simply connect and begin to share information with each other, which may not be intended for the foreign ears or eyes. In fact, the automatic exchange of information between Bluetooth-enabled devices has a place only at the hardware level, i.e. solely to determine the fact of connectivity (Shinder, 2005). But only the user decides to enter or disable the automatic installation of communication at the application level. Thus, the use of Bluetooth is not more dangerous than the Internet connection, in which all hubs are also connected electrically, but it does not mean getting unconditional access to any resource.
Dwelling on perspectives of the Bluetooth technology development, it is worth mentioning that the Bluetooth standard was developed with the expectation of low power, so its impact on the human body is minimized. The main feature of Bluetooth is that the various Bluetooth devices are connected to each other automatically, once they come within reach. The user does not have a headache about cables, drivers, or anything else; everything that is required of the user is to make sure that Bluetooth devices would be located close enough to each other; while everything else Bluetooth devices and software should take care of themselves.
As we can see, Bluetooth is much better suited for the use in wireless communication devices, which require relatively low price, no need for high speed and desirable low power consumption. An important aspect in the development of Bluetooth is the fact that this technology is not subject to licensing and its use does not require payment of any fees (although it requires the signing of a free agreement) (Lauerman, 2002). This policy has enabled many companies to actively engage in the development of devices with Bluetooth, which have been demonstrated at different shows in large numbers.
Nowadays Bluetooth opens up tremendous opportunities for inventors. For example, a camera with the Bluetooth wireless technology connects the mobile phone – and a person may send a captured image to a friend. Anyone taking this message immediately sends it to the laptop. In the office, this laptop automatically connects with Bluetooth-printer – and the image is printed.
There is no doubt that the Bluetooth technology perspectives are really great and the technology is increasing every day. Recently, when a Bluetooth 3.0 standard is only has appeared, a consortium of Bluetooth SIG announced the development of Bluetooth 4.0, designed to transmit signals to tiny sensors to be used in public health, safety systems and home entertainment (Parsons J. J. and Oja, 2010).
Thus, taking everything into consideration it is possible to conclude that the Bluetooth technology can make a real revolution in the world of personal communications, and generally in human life. Observing the topic of the Bluetooth technology appearance and development with many details, we can mention that the use of Bluetooth is not limited to miniature computers and a variety of fashionable technological devices. The chips can also be used in consumer electronics, which means that now a user with a Pocket PC or mobile phone can give any command to a microwave oven or TV set. In such a way, devices based on this technology appear under the brand names of many famous companies and users are happy to receive new opportunities in the sphere of communication and entertainment.
Booth, S. A. Bringing Up Bluetooth. Chief Executive, August 2000.
Devito, N. Bluetooth Is Coming. Black Enterprise, Vol. 31, April 2001.
Lauerman, L. Science & Technology Almanac. Greenwood Press, 2002.
Mcginn, D., Kudyba, S. and Diwan, R. Information Technology, Corporate Productivity, and the New Economy. Quorum Books, 2002.
Parsons J. J. and Oja, D. New Perspectives on Computer Concepts 2011: Comprehensive. Course Technology, 2010.
Pitler, H. and Malenoski, K. Using Technology with Classroom Instruction That Works. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 2007.
Richards, S. Futurenet: The Past, Present, and Future of the Internet as Told by Its Creators and Visionaries. Wiley, 2002.
Shinder, D. Bluetooth: Is it a Security Threat? Wireless Security. Aug 09, 2005. Available at http://www.windowsecurity.com/articles/bluetooth-security-threat.html