Bluetooth on PC - What's a Bluetooth Adapter Dongle?
A Bluetooth adapter dongle is a USB accessory for your PC or Notebook which enables you to add Bluetooth wireless capability to your computer device. The dongle usually has a standard USB (Universal Serial Bus) Type-A rectangular connector which plugs into any spare USB receptacle on your device and provides power to the dongle as well as transferring the data picked up by the wireless dongle. The beauty of a Bluetooth adapter dongle is in the fact that it can be installed on a PC or Notebook in a matter of minutes and can be de-installed just as quickly and re-used on another machine if necessary. Some adapters come with the installation software already loaded on the dongle for automatic installation, whereas some dongles also known as Bluetooth USB Adapters will come with an installation CD to enable the loading of drivers and associated software quickly and efficiently. Once installed, your Bluetooth USB Adapter is ready to synchronise with Bluetooth enabled devices such as keyboards, mobile phones, video games controllers and other PCs if necessary. So what is Bluetooth? Bluetooth is a wireless technology designed for short range communications in the ISM (Industrial, Scientific and Medical) bands on frequencies in the range 2400 - 2480 Mhz. A Bluetooth network is often known as a PAN (Personal Area Network) to differentiate from a LAN (Local Area Network) or WAN (Wide Area Network). It is so called because it is designed to connect devices wirelessly over a very small range of only a few metres. The Telecommunications giant, Ericsson first developed this Open Standard in 1994 and it is now managed by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group. A network of devices using this wireless technology will have a single master device which can communicate with up to 7 other devices in the network known as a piconet. Normally the device that initiates a connection to another devices will initially assume the role of the master device, with the other device automatically becoming the slave device. A master will communicate with other slave devices in the piconet in a round robin fashion if there is more than one slave. Versions of the Bluetooth specification have evolved since the first specification in 1994, with the latest specification being version 4.0 has data rates up to 25 Mbps. Contrast the early version 1.2 which only had a data rate of 721 Kb;ps. Most Bluetooth Adapter Dongles on the market today either support the version 2.0 or 3.0 standards, with version 3.0 and enhanced version 4.0 being backward compatible with versions 1.2, 2.0 and 2.1. This means if you purchase a version 3 dongle, it should be able to synchronise and connect with older peripherals using earlier versions. Once installed correctly, most models of Bluetooth USB Adapter are generally trouble free, but one problem some people are not aware of is that these adapters need high speed connectivity to your PC or Notebook, and the older USB specifications prior to version 2.0 may not provide sufficiently fast data transfer for full functionality of your Bluetooth devices. So if you have an older PC then check that it supports USB version 2.0 or higher.