Bluetooth Technology FAQ for Beginners

Do your kids or grandkids talk about something called “Bluetooth technology” and wonder what that is? You might know that has something to do with wireless transmission of radio signals but don’t understand exactly how it works. We’re happy to give you a better idea of what it is. Don’t worry, this won’t be a long, involved, or highly technical tutorial. I’m happy to share what I know about Bluetooth with you in as down-to-earth a way as possible. When I’m done, I’m hoping that you’ll see just how cool this tech is and you might even want to get your own Bluetooth device.

As a side note, I really enjoyed putting this Q&A together for you. Sure, I had a general understanding of what Bluetooth technology is, but that was in its simplest terms. By digging deeper into the subject matter, I learned things I never knew about this exciting technology. It has an interesting story, and useful present, and an even more exciting future. Bonus points that its name references a Viking king. (I happen to dig all things Viking.) I’m sure you’ll find the information helpful.

So, without any further ado, here are some of the most common questions we get about Bluetooth technology and the answers to each:

Q: “What is Bluetooth?”

A: To understand Bluetooth technology is to understand what Bluetooth is all about. This technology is designed to allow wireless communication between two devices. When the technology first came out in 2002, it was used to enable gadgets such as wireless computer keyboards and wireless mice. It was also used with Bluetooth headsets that allow for hands-free communications on cell phones. Streaming music from your cell phone’s playlist to the stereo in your home or vehicle is another common Bluetooth application.

Q: “What are the Benefits of Bluetooth?”

A: It’s all about convenience and multi-tasking when it comes right down to it. Being able to listen to music, audiobook, podcast, or talk on phone without getting tangled in wires. This lets you use your devices or listen to music while you clean, grocery shop, garden, work, or drive without getting cable disconnected, dropping your phone, etc. Since most of us multi-task these days, Bluetooth is a handy technology for a variety of different people.

Q: “What are Some Common Bluetooth Applications?”

A: As I’ve said earlier, Bluetooth’s most common applications, include wireless headphones for cellphones, wireless computer keyboards, and music streaming. Because the technology is so varied, there are many products being made that have creative and/or specialty uses. Take this ultimate Bluetooth audio receiver and transmitter for example. It has too many features, benefits, and uses to mention here. There also are waterproof Bluetooth speakersBluetooth receivers for boats, and many other unique and exciting products.

Q: “What is the Average Range for Bluetooth Devices?”

A: Good question! According to my research, about three to five meters is the average range that Bluetooth technology lets devices communicate with each other. Any more than that and you risk the security and privacy of your transmissions. You wouldn’t want other people with Bluetooth devices to be able to tap into your cell phone conversations as you drive down the road, do you? (Rhetorical question.)

Q: “Why Do I Need Bluetooth Technology?”

A: Same reason you need any technology: to make your life more convenient. There’s a reason your kids and grandkids love this stuff and it’s not because it’s a fad. Off the top of my head, I can think of at least three ways that someone of nearly any age can benefit from Bluetooth technology:

  1. Streaming the music on your cellphone or tablet to your vehicle or home stereo system. (Yes, even if you need to have your grandkids download the songs for you!)
  2. Hands-free communication on your cellphone for convenience at home and added safety on the road.
  3. If you’re tired of your desktop becoming a “spaghetti drill” of tangled wires and cords, having a Bluetooth capability to your keyboard and mouse makes these devices wireless.

There are many more devices that use Bluetooth technology, but you get the point. All of these units offer wireless communications between two devices to make your life easier.

Q: “Am I Too Old to Learn Bluetooth Technology?”

A: Do you know how to use a cellphone? If so, then you should have no problem learning how work your Bluetooth technology. In fact, most of these devices are plug-in-play by nature. When you get one, you’ll find that it’s easy to learn. It won’t take long before you’re using it just like you use your cell phone every day. And don’t forget to ask your kids and grandkids for tips especially in the beginning. They’ll help you get over their learning curve rather quickly.

Q: “Should I be Concerned About Radiation?”

A: Yes, Bluetooth headphones emit radio frequency or RF radiation to be exact. There’s not a lot of long-term research on the safety of this. The federal government has set safety standards for the amount of RF radiation that can be emitted by consumer devices. Bluetooth devices fall below that level, even when placed against the skin. This technology tends to emit less RF radiation than most if not all cell phones. Because of this, some people recommend using a Bluetooth earpiece instead of a cell phone to reduce the amount of RF radiation you’re exposed to.

When it comes to RF radiation and Bluetooth devices, there are a few of things to remember. First of all, neither me nor anyone else at Solid Signal is a doctor. We’re also not responsible for any consequences associated with any choices you make regarding Bluetooth devices or technology. Yeah, these kinds of disclaimers tend to upset the flow of things, but our legal team was very clear about our need to say these things to you. Whatever decision you make, please make sure it’s an informed one.

Q: “Is Bluetooth a Company?”

A: No, it’s actually a technology designed and used by more than 34,000 telecommunications, computer, and networking companies. It’s called the Bluetooth Special Interest Group of BSIG for short and this consortium is responsible for developing and refining Bluetooth technology for a wide variety of uses.

Q: “Is Bluetooth Technology New?”

A: Compared to the steam engine, yes. In today’s fast-paced and highly-evolving world, no. Bluetooth technology is more than 20 years old, but don’t let that mislead you. This technology is constantly evolving thanks to the BSIG. The group is currently working with Bluetooth 5.0 technology. With so many brilliant minds using and improving this technology, it will continue to evolve and improve. This means that Bluetooth products will get better and better.

Q: “What’s up With the Name Bluetooth?”

A: This is my favorite part of this technology. (Seriously) Bluetooth gets its name from King Harald Gormsson, also known as “Bluetooth.” He was the rule who united Denmark from 958 to 986 AD. Since the original work on this technology was done by a Scandinavian company (Ericsson), and since it unites devices, the obvious choice was to name it after the king who brought the various kingdoms of Denmark together under his rule. As a huge fan of all things Viking, I think the history behind the technology’s name is really cool.

Q: “What does the Bluetooth Logo Mean?”

A: Quite literally, it means “Bluetooth.” The Bluetooth logo is a symbol made out of the Younger Futhark runes used for the letters H (Hagalaz) for Harald and B (Bjarkan) for Bluetooth. (Runes are the lettering system used by the ancient Nordic peoples.) When you superimpose these two runes atop one another, you get something that looks like a capital B with to prongs coming out of its back. The ancient Norse called these symbols “bindrunes,” and believed them to be symbols of power.

Q: “Where Can I Get Bluetooth Devices?”

A: The answer to this question didn’t require any research at all on my part. Solid Signal is an online electronics retailer that carries a huge variety of Bluetooth products. We have the most common Bluetooth devices to more unique technology, such as this Bluetooth-enabled portable insect trap and lantern for example. Yes, it’s a thing, and it’s ideal for anyone who wants to listen to their favorite songs while spending time outdoors. (Think camping, RV trips, or even just hanging out on the porch or patio.) If you want to learn more about the Bluetooth products we carry, check out the Solid Signal website or just give us a call at 888-233-7563.

About the Author

Jake Buckler
Jake Buckler is a cord-cutter, consumer electronics geek, and Celtic folk music fan. Those qualities, and his writing experience, helped him land a copywriting gig at Signal Group, LLC. He also contributes to The Solid Signal Blog.