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This wireless technology enables communication between Bluetooth-compatible devices. It is used for short-range connections between desktop and laptop computers, PDAs (like the Palm Pilot or Handspring Visor), digital cameras, scanners, cellular phones, and printers.

Infrared once served the same purpose as Bluetooth, but it had a number of drawbacks. For example, if there was an object placed between the two communicating devices, the transmission would be interrupted. (You may have noticed this limitation when using a television remote control). Also, the Infrared-based communication was slow and devices were often incompatible with each other.

Bluetooth takes care of all these limitations. Because the technology is based on radio waves, there can be objects or even walls placed between the communicating devices and the connection won't be disrupted. Also, Bluetooth uses a standard 2.4 GHz frequency so that all Bluetooth-enabled devices will be compatible with each other. The only drawback of Bluetooth is that, because of its high frequency, its range is limited to 30 feet. While this is easily enough for transferring data within the same room, if you are walking in your back yard and want to transfer the address book from your cell phone to your computer in your basement, you might be out of luck. However, the short range can be seen as a positive aspect as well, since it adds to the security of Bluetooth communication.

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Category: Technical Terms