Have you ever seen this happen to your devices? You aren’t alone. Apple, Google, and other smartphone manufacturers have got rid of the headphone jack on their flagship offerings. This is pushing people towards wireless headphones, which means they’re going to have to rely on Bluetooth connection. But Bluetooth you see has many issues. Firstly, it has a short-range, secondly, devices disconnect unexpectedly, and finally, use up so much battery life that you have to plug in your devices more often than not. Even though it’s been around for 20 years but there seems no respite for consumers when it comes to a robust reliable connection for short-range data transfer. Bluetooth is still a wireless standard used all over the world when it comes to the connection between various devices like wireless printers, keyboards, game controllers, speakers, and headphones. The question arises as to why is it so unreliable?
History of Bluetooth
Bluetooth was invented in the mid-1990s by a group of engineers as a secure way to share data between devices, the Bluetooth name and logo comes from the Viking king Harald Gormsson of the 10th century who managed to unite two separate warring clans, Denmark and Norway at that time, similar to Bluetooth’s purpose. The nickname of King Harald was Blatand, which translates from Danish to Bluetooth. The logo is taken from the initials of King Harald Blatand. It’s a variation of the runic letters H and B.
How does Bluetooth work?
Bluetooth connects with other gadgets using the 2.4 Gigahertz frequency. This and a few others are referred to as the ISM band (Industrial, Scientific, and Medical frequency band) for manufacturing, scientific and medical instruments. This is the range that all baby monitors and cordless phones use. It’s also the same frequency that emits fluorescent lights and microwaves.
Issues with Bluetooth
The aforementioned frequency does not require that devices have a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) license to work on them. It makes the band appealing to producers because they do not have to negotiate with the FCC. Because of this, the ISM band is full of wireless gadgets using this frequency. And all of them mess with your Bluetooth devices. Every electronic gadget running on Bluetooth can fall into one of three groups. Class one, for the long term, includes a power supply and is primarily used for industrial purposes. They have an estimated range of 330 feet. Class two, they’re about 30 feet in range. This is what most cell phones and speakers are using. The range of Class 3 range is less than 30 feet. Class two and three gadgets typically use low-power Bluetooth.
But even low power will allow uses precious battery life on your smartphone. And if you have a class two speakers, just 20 feet away from your phone, it may still not work great. Especially if there is any interference from other devices. What is more annoying, is that Bluetooth transfers data much slower than Wi-Fi. Although devices connected via the new Wi-Fi Direct protocol will be able to transfer data at 250 megabits per second, Bluetooth 4.0 can only reach a maximum of 25 megabits per second. There’s no superfix coming soon for these things.
But if you want to make the connection between two devices better, there are a few things you can do. Place the devices you want to connect as close as possible to each other. Keep your apps up-to-date. Reset your Bluetooth connection every day. Or use a third-party device that can amplify Bluetooth signal. While there is no sure cure yet, some companies are taking matters into their own hands, creating technology that works a lot like Bluetooth. Apple’s W1 chip allows the AirPods to connect to any gadget you use, rather than having to unpair and re-pair the headphones at any time.
Are we going to see a new wireless communication method better than Bluetooth? We’re all going to have to wait and see.