Academic Master


The Evolution of Bluetooth as a Wireless Communications Technology

In the communication’s industry, wireless communications are among the fastest growing segment. The development of this technology has had a huge impact on our lives today. Most wired networks today have been replaced or supplemented by wireless local area or GSM networks, such as in business, homes or campuses. Bluetooth is a form of wireless technology that makes use of UHF short-wavelength radio waves from 2.4-2.485 GHz ISM band to exchange data over short distances from mobiles and fixed devices, making use of PANs or personal area networks. It is a low power, a low-cost technology operating over wireless, where the devices form ad-hoc short-range networks or piconets to connect with each other. The piconets activate dynamically and automatically one a Bluetooth enabled device leaves or enters radio proximity (Jin-Shyan Lee, 2007). Bluetooth can handle voice transmission and data simultaneously that enables users to perform different tasks such as PC synchronization, printing or accepting or making voice calls through special headsets.

Key Contributors to Development

The development of Bluetooth started in Sweden by L.M. Ericsson in 1994. The name Bluetooth is borrowed from the king of Denmark in 940 to 981 AD, named Harald Blaatand Bluetooth. The Swedish Telecommunications Company Ericsson is credited to have originated its research. In 1989, the actual effort began when Ericsson Mobile’s Chief Technology Officer Nils Rydbeck and a physician, Johan Ullman joined in the efforts of two engineers at Ericsson, Sven Mattisson and Jaap Haartsen to research short-link optimal radio technology standards that can be used to transmit data or signals between wireless headsets and personal computers, that they planned to introduce in the market. The chief inventor Jaap Haartsen was a senior engineer and scientist in Ericsson who was given the task to develop that technology that can allow wireless communication between a phone and its accessories. Sven Mattison and Jaap Haartsen worked together on such a project named MCLink. This was a successful venture and eventually came to be known as Bluetooth. In a meeting, Jim Kardach, an engineer from Intel, named the technology Bluetooth after the Dutch king, as a codename for it (Tonner, 2001).

The ‘Centre for Business History’ located at Norway provides record for 10 patents exist that protect Bluetooth technology, a majority of which Ericsson holds. Jaap Harartsen is credited for US Patent No. 6590928 that is entitled ‘Frequency Hopping Piconets in an Uncoordinated Wireless Multi-User System’ (Haartsen, 1997). It discusses wirelessly connected network involving a slave unit along with a master unit, in which the master and slave units are capable of interacting with each other using a frequency hopping channel virtually (Brachmann, 2015). It was groundbreaking because it provided a communication method for a cost-effective local wireless network that can support data as well as voice transmissions, efficiently using limited available radio spectrum, that had self-organization techniques enabled. Over the coming years, Haartsen kept working on the development of piconet networks and eventually played a large part in the establishment of the SIG or ‘Special Interest Group’ for Bluetooth. He chaired the SIG’s air protocol certification section between 1998-2000, working to standardize protocols relating to Bluetooth radio communications.

Early Development

Five companies in 19998, Nokia, Ericsson, IBM, Toshiba and Intel joined each other to create a consortium called the SIG or ‘Special Interest Group’, in order to encourage the implementation and development of a worldwide solution for wireless communication in the short-range segment that would operate in the unlicensed ISM (scientific, medical, Industrial) band of 2.4 GHz (Bisdikian, 2001). SIG members were market leaders, two leaders in laptop computing, two leaders of the mobile telecommunications market, and a DSP ‘digital-signal-processor technology’ leading company. It was Ericsson that initially approached these other portable device manufacturers to generate interest in the new technology. They envisioned the new system together, that required portable devices of critical mass levels that would use the new short-range radio technology. The new Bluetooth consortium announced itself in May 1998 to the general public from San Jose, London, Tokyo and California (Haartsen, 1998). Later on, further names such as Lucent, 3COM, Microsoft and Motorola joined the group, and today the SIG has a membership of around 30,000 worldwide companies. The IEE 802.15 standards working group formed in 1999 to develop together a tree of diverse communication standards for WPANs or ‘wireless personal area networks’. The SIG submitted its Bluetooth technology specifications for the IEEE 802.15 standard, as a potential candidate. The proposal was chosen and the Bluetooth specification began to serve as the baseline of 802.15.1 standards

Circumstances Leading to Development

Bluetooth technology was designed in order to fulfil a need of connecting personal communication and technology devices without the need to have a clutter of cables. The idea came up at Ericsson when they were trying to work with RS-232 cables in a tangle, that was at the time usually in use to establish communication between instruments, and envisioned to replace it with a wireless alternative that would be RF based. Bluetooth was designed as a short-range communications wireless protocol that would facilitate such data transmission over short distances through PANS. The intent behind the technology was to create a single digital protocol that would be able to wirelessly connect multiple devices, and overcome synchronization problems between devices as well. The new technology used a frequency hopping technique spread in a spectrum, that chopped data that was transmitted into 75 different chunks of frequencies. It was designed to automatically manage its connections at a physical level, and decide when to transfer and what bits to transfer, and also check whether the received and sent messages were the same. Although other companies were also hit with the idea of the wireless linkage between devices, they quickly realized that there is a need for universal interoperability and that would require technology to be standardized, they hence became part of the Bluetooth SIG.

Transformation and Societal Impact

Today Bluetooth communications are considered to be at the front of technological innovations. It changed the way people talk on phones and how they interact with it. The product development that followed proved that it was a unique transmission protocol that could have almost limitless implications. Bluetooth technology changed society and how people interacted with their devices. From projection at school to speakers at home, it led towards a cordless world, where spaces could be kept neater. It is like an iPhone compared to an old telephone with a cord. Bluetooth allowed devices to be moved around without having wires for them to remain plugged in, and with no interruptions between the connection. Hands-free headsets that operate using Bluetooth began to become more common and allow users to work with their devices at greater range and easier mobility. In businesses Bluetooth connections allowed to print documents wirelessly, connect keyboards and mouse to the PCs wirelessly and allowed for connection of personal hand-held devices to be connected to screen and projectors for presentations during meetings (Waqqas ur Rehman Butt, 2008), all at a very low-power usage, compared to Wi-Fi technology. The technology also led to wirelessly enabled wearables, such as smartwatches and fitness bands. It allowed transferring captured data on those wearable devices to be synchronized with smartphones and save records in real-time without putting a heavy drain on the battery. A Wi-Fi connection limits synchronisation between such wearables and drains a greater portion of the battery (Dan, 2016).

As cellphones began to transfer data wirelessly between themselves and computers it led to a range of applications development. From an MP3 player, a PDA, to a car’s navigational system, today while driving people had no longer the need to hold a phone and talk to someone, as Bluetooth simultaneous voice and data transmission allowed people to let the phones stay in their pockets and simply speak in the car. They can speak the name of the contact and the phone will dial. The microphone system or the earpiece begins to be routed through the car’s sound system.

All of these developments led to great changes in how humans interacted with their devices and each other as well.

Future Expectations

Today, there are billions of chips that have integrated Bluetooth wireless technology incorporated into them in order to enable the use of thousands of applications builds to utilize it for a number of purposes. The low energy requirement of Bluetooth protocols makes it highly useful in newer devices that will utilize coin cell batteries for power. In two decades, the total Bluetooth related products and its application related shipments have surpassed 2.5 billion, whereas its association has stretched to 19000. It is quickly growing into a technology with a very optimistic future (Nordic Semiconductor, 2014).

Bluetooth led to the development of technologies and applications that make seamless use of personal area networks, that would never have been possible in a world connected with cables. Today, the Bluetooth SIG works with other standards bodies like the UWB, ‘Ultra Wide Band’ to improve on existing Bluetooth technology to make it suitable for the requirements of the future. It could extend its coverage to up to 100 meters with a transfer rate of 100Mbps that could allow it to stream high-quality video content to Bluetooth enabled devices. All major operating systems such as the Windows and Mac OS provide native Bluetooth compatibility, and it has become an integral part (Mohamed, 2009).

Future upcoming functions in Bluetooth technology that are being researched include determination of location and distance in order for the devices to work with each other whilst understanding the distances between each device (Hardawar, 2016), this can provide a contextual awareness as an extra parameter that in the future could also lead to development of interesting and useful applications making use of the Bluetooth protocol. It can be said that the best of Bluetooth technology’s uses are still ahead of us.


Bisdikian, C., 2001. IN-HOME NETWORKING: An Overview of the Bluetooth Wireless Technology. IEEE Communications Magazine, December, pp. 86-94.

Bachmann, S., 2015. Evolution of Technology: Bluetooth, the once and future king. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 25 March 2018].

Dan, 2016. 5 Ways Bluetooth Changed The World Of Communication. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 25 March 2018].

Haartsen, J., 1998. BLUETOOTH—The universal radio interface for ad hoc, wireless connectivity. Ericsson Review, Volume 3, pp. 110-117.

Hardawar, D., 2016. The inventor of Bluetooth on where wireless is going next. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 25 March 2018].

Jin-Shyan Lee, Y.-W. S. C.-C. S., 2007. A Comparative Study of Wireless Protocols: Bluetooth, UWB, ZigBee, and Wi-Fi. Taipei, IEEE, pp. 46-51.

Mohamed, A., 2009. Does Bluetooth have a future? – Essential Guide. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 25 March 2018].

Nordic Semiconductor, 2014. A short history of Bluetooth. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 25 March 2018].

Tonner, D., 2001. The Bluetooth blues. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 25 March 2018].

Waqqas ur Rehman Butt, S. A., 2008. Study of Bluetooth technology and its impacts. s.l., World Scientific and Engineering Academy and Society (WSEAS), pp. 124-133.



Calculate Your Order

Standard price





Pop-up Message