Bluetooth-enabled devices are all around us and you’ve probably encountered at least one product that has it. From smartphones, tablets, and laptops, to speakers, headphones, and even bathroom scales, Bluetooth is everywhere. Your VAVA speaker even has it. But for something so ubiquitous, a surprising few of us know anything about how it works… so how does it?
What Is Bluetooth?
Bluetooth is a means to communicate. The Bluetooth protocol – a universal communication standard since 1994 – allows your device to connect with a matching device. Put simply, that just means two devices can wirelessly communicate with each other to transfer files, play audio, link hardware, tether the internet, and more. It’s convenience without cables!
How Does It Work?
Without the need for wires or cables, Bluetooth works by sending short-burst radio waves to compatible devices. However it doesn’t just send these “messages” out into the ether where anyone can receive them. For it to work, devices must firstly connect with each other to successfully communicate. Getting a bit more technical, communication between paired devices is conducted over a piconet – an adhoc network specifically for devices using Bluetooth technology protocols that share the same physical channel. This network is an active system so devices can connect and drop out once initially paired and if in vicinity to the central device. Up to 8 devices can connect on this network, though you’re more likely to encounter only one or two connected at the same time.
How to Maximize Signal Strength
With a maximum operating length of 10 meters (33 feet), Bluetooth has an impressive range to meet the needs of ordinary consumers. That said, a bit more can be done to really maximize the strength of your connection:
- Remove obstacles or barriers –signal strength is reduced when obstructed by physical objects
- Employ devices with compatible protocols – the full benefits of version 4.2 will not be usable if the paired device can only use version 4.0
- Ensure internal batteries are charged or working – batteries that are not fully charged or a bit faulty can disrupt signal strength
- That the antenna or transmitter is placed correctly – try placing the transmitting device in different locations to see which placement guarantees the strongest signal
Bluetooth & Wi-Fi
While there are different means to connect devices, Bluetooth has taken the crown as the most popular. That said, Wi-Fi, as a means to connect devices, is becoming increasingly popular due its greater range and higher transmission quality. While the benefits of Wi-Fi cannot be denied, when it comes to home audio, stereos, and headphones for the standard user, Bluetooth is the clear winner. Here’s why:
- Bluetooth enabled devices are far more common than devices with Wi-Fi – just about every handheld music device has Bluetooth functionality as do speakers and headphones
- Bluetooth is less sensitive to interference as Bluetooth operates on its own frequency. This means that things like microwaves, ovens, and other home utilities which operate on a similar frequency to Wi-Fi, won’t disrupt the Bluetooth connection
- Bluetooth is easier to use than Wi-Fi which can have settings that need to be manually configured before pairing
- There are issues with Wi-Fi in terms of incompatible data formatting between iOS and Android operating systems. While most speakers and audio products are designed to work with both operating systems, Bluetooth works regardless so there is zero chance of having compatibility issues.
Bluetooth isn’t a magic piece of wireless technology; it’s a universal tool to connect devices. Hopefully after reading this you will look at it differently as you pair your smartphone with the VAVA Voom and wirelessly play your tunes.