Many netbooks tout bluetooth as one of their important features. But what exactly does bluetooth mean to you? Well, here’s the lowdown: In short, bluetooth is a wireless standard for exchanging data over very short distances -up to 32 feet or 10 meters. A bluetooth device transmits a 2.4 GHz radio signal, while other device receives the signal, both will start talking with one another.
Bluetooth is named after a Danish King Harald “bluetooth” blaatand. Of course Harald did not invent the wireless protocol – but he was known for unifying Sweden, Norway, and Denmark. Because the bluetooth inventors saw the protocol as a unifying communications standard, they wanted to honor King Harald. Obviously, the symbol on the bluetooth logo is King Harald’s initials in Nordic runes. It is a good way to replace data and peripheral cables. There are bluetooth-compatible mice, headphones, keyboards, printers, GPS receivers, cell phones, and PDAs. None of them need cables. One of the most useful features of bluetooth is calendar and contact synchronization among cell phones, laptops, and PDAs. If you have a bluetooth-compatible cellphone, it’s possible to connect to the internet through the cellphone without data cable.
Remember that bluetooth transfers your files at a rate of 1 Mbps. Although that’s about six times faster than serial and parallel ports, it is substantially slower than an 802.11 Wi-Fi connection – you shouldn’t use bluetooth for your day-to-day Internet connection.
Even so, the next generation bluetooth Ver. 3.0, will amp up the standard’s data rate to a zoomy 24 Mbps. Other than the speed increase, the bluetooth standard will also offer improved power management capabilities, so new bluetooth devices can run longer on batteries.
If you don’t have built-in bluetooth in your netbook, but you are tired of those data cable, you can get an affordable bluetooth adapter (around $25) that you can plug in to a USB slot – you may need a driver to run your modem, but in most cases, Windows would automatically do it for you.
In Windows, you need to configure bluetooth before using it, just follow the configuration wizard to easily adjust the setting. You should choose the types of services you need, such as file transfer, PIM (Personal Information Manager) synchronization, headset, and so forth.
When the configuration is completed, Windows creates a ‘My bluetooth Places’ icon on the desktop. If you click the icon, a window is opened to control all bluetooth connections (you can also search for nearby devices). Another bluetooth icon is also placed in the taskbar for easy access.
Check the netbook’s user manual for more information on using bluetooth. If you have a built-in bluetooth in your netbook, you should turn it off to improve battery life. Use a menu command or press a function key (check the user manual) to turn it off and on.