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Bluetooth is used in almost all major consumer products What Is Bluetooth? [Technology Explained] What Is Bluetooth? [Technology Explained] Read More , including phones, tablets, laptops, headphones, speakers, TVs, and video game consoles, because it can do so many things from playing audio from one source to a speaker to transferring files from one device to another.

For some time now, Bluetooth has been the preferred technology to wirelessly pair two devices, and over the years we’ve seen it change and become better and better in the process. Yet, unfortunately, some old-school myths about it still persist. It’s time to bust them.

In short, today’s Bluetooth is different from the Bluetooth of years ago. Here are the most common misconceptions that people still hold and what you should know instead.

1. “Enabling Bluetooth Kills Battery Life”

Back in the early days of smartphones, yes, keeping your Bluetooth on led to a drop in your battery life. That’s because once your connection was on, it would actively look for devices to pair with at all times.

But that’s a smartphone myth you can now forget 10 Popular Smartphone Myths That Aren't True 10 Popular Smartphone Myths That Aren't True We're going to tackle 10 of the most prevalent smartphone myths today and see if we can't do our part in ending the misinformation surrounding today's smartphones. Read More . With the new Bluetooth standards starting with version 4 and beyond, we got something called the Low Energy (LE) module.

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LE modules use different technologies to similarly search for Bluetooth devices in your vicinity without taking up the same amount of power as the earlier versions of Bluetooth.

Similarly, once a connection has been made, an LE device won’t draw substantial power when data is not being transferred. For example, if you have paired your smartphone with a pair of great Bluetooth headphones Buying Wireless Headphones? Here Are 6 Things You Need to Know Buying Wireless Headphones? Here Are 6 Things You Need to Know In this guide, we'll take a look at some of the most important things you need to know about wireless headphones. Read More , it won’t draw power when you aren’t playing a song.

As a result, Bluetooth LE’s overall power consumption has been lowered by half or more. Where the classic Bluetooth would use 1W, Bluetooth LE would use between 0.01 to 0.5W. A massive improvement.

2. “Bluetooth Is Bad For Your Health”

At this point, there is no solid consensus on whether radiation from mobile phones is harmful to your health. However, we do know one thing for sure: certain Bluetooth headsets The Beginner's Guide To Buying The Right Bluetooth Headset The Beginner's Guide To Buying The Right Bluetooth Headset The dirty little secret to buying the perfect Bluetooth headset is that there is no "perfect" headset. Read More are definitely much safer for you.

Radiation is about power and Bluetooth excels in that regard. Bluetooth’s maximum output for a Class 1 device is 100mW of power, and it rarely does that.

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In fact, most Bluetooth devices you use have a maximum of 1mW of power. On the other hand, most standard phones can easily operate at 1,000mW or 2,000mW when you’re using 3G or 4G services.

So no, Bluetooth might not be completely safe, but wearing a Bluetooth headset is better for your exposure to radiation than a smartphone. You obviously can’t escape having a phone with you in this day and age, so if you are a little wary of the radiation consequences, get a Bluetooth headset.

3. “Bluetooth Only Works in Small Rooms”

Does your smartphone’s Bluetooth only work across a short range? Probably, yes. But what you may not know is that Bluetooth has three classes, and the operating distance of Bluetooth depends upon which class the device falls into:

  •         Bluetooth Class 3 devices have a range of less than 10 meters.
  •         Bluetooth Class 2 devices have a range of around 10 meters.
  •         Bluetooth Class 1 devices have a range of around 100 meters.

Generally, you’ll only get Bluetooth Class 1 in devices which have their own power source or have a significant power unit, like desktop computers or speakers that require an electrical connection. Most smartphones and tablets use Bluetooth Class 2 or 3.

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Yet even then, 10 meters is the theoretical distance that they’re aiming for. Without any interference, like walls, you’ll find that it sometimes extends beyond that.

The thing that really matters here, at least as far as wireless tech goes, there’s hardly a difference between Bluetooth and Wi-Fi Direct The Differences Between Bluetooth 4.0 and Wi-Fi Direct You Need To Know The Differences Between Bluetooth 4.0 and Wi-Fi Direct You Need To Know If you take a peek into the future, it's hard not to envision an always-on society that features a multitude of connected devices that work in unison to make your life more convenient. Read More . If you’ve been using Wi-Fi Direct because of range concerns, you may actually be fine going with Bluetooth instead.

4. “Non-Discoverable Bluetooth Is Secure”

No! No, no, no! Bluetooth technology has never had a great reputation for security, but the more recent versions have plugged a lot of holes and gaps. Chief among these myths is that if you set your device as non-discoverable, then others with malicious intent can’t find it and you’ll be safe.

Well, that’s not true at all.

The Bluetooth Device Address (BDA) might be hidden in non-discoverable mode, but hackers have gotten wise to that over the years. Scanners and sniffer devices can still find your BDA and infiltrate it even when it’s non-discoverable.

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The biggest culprit in this infiltration are the default passwords 7 Password Mistakes That Will Likely Get You Hacked 7 Password Mistakes That Will Likely Get You Hacked The worst passwords of 2015 have been released, and they're quite worrying. But they show that it's absolutely critical to strengthen your weak passwords, with just a few simple tweaks. Read More  that are used on most Bluetooth devices: 0000 or 1234. Because of this, almost anyone can connect to your Bluetooth device once they have your address.

This simple, illogical system is the cause behind most cases of eavesdropping and Bluejacking (connecting to a phone to send spam) on Bluetooth devices. So the first thing you need to do right now is go to your phone’s Bluetooth settings and change the password to a secure four-digit PIN Which Is More Secure, A Password Or a Pattern Lock? Which Is More Secure, A Password Or a Pattern Lock? Our smartphones carry a lot of personal information. All of your text messages, emails, notes, apps, app data, music, pictures, and so much more are all on there. While it's a very great convenience to... Read More .

If you’re really worried about a malware attack through Bluetooth, keep your connection OFF instead of non-discoverable. Bluetooth can’t be infiltrated if it’s off.

5. “Bluetooth Interferes With Wi-Fi”

Like most other wireless technologies, Bluetooth uses the 2.4 GHz radio frequency to send and receive data. That’s the same frequency used by everything from your Wi-Fi network to your microwave oven 4 Reasons Why Your Wi-Fi Is So Slow (And How to Fix Them) 4 Reasons Why Your Wi-Fi Is So Slow (And How to Fix Them) When you rely on Wi-Fi, speed issues can hurt -- and Wi-Fi speed issues aren't always easy to diagnose. Here are some things you ought to check. Read More .

So naturally, the first thought is that your Bluetooth connection’s stability and speed depends upon what other devices are running in the vicinity and whether they’re broadcasting data on said wireless frequencies.

Well, not quite.

bluetooth-myth-interference

Bluetooth uses something called adaptive frequency hopping and this has really improved with Bluetooth 4.0 How Bluetooth 4.0 Is Shaping the Future of Mobile Connectivity How Bluetooth 4.0 Is Shaping the Future of Mobile Connectivity Bluetooth is the forgotten star on the device specifications sheet. Read More . Let’s break it down to understand what it does exactly.

The 2.4 GHz frequency is a band that goes from 2,400 MHz to 2,483.5 MHz. Bluetooth uses two channels, each monitoring 50% of the band. The signal rapidly “hops” from one free frequency to another, thus ensuring that it won’t get disrupted by other devices trying to use that band.

The end result is that while other wireless connections can seek to use the same frequency that Bluetooth is using, its super-fast adaptive hopping keeps your connection stable without drops in speed.

How Often Do You Use Bluetooth?

Apart from Bluetooth, you have several other options to connect devices wirelessly, such as Wi-Fi Direct, NFC and others. Each has their own pros and cons.

We want to know which ones you use and why. Tell us your thoughts about Bluetooth or its competitors in the comments below.

  1. j
    November 1, 2016 at 4:44 pm

    Bluetooth for some devices is great but back to the security issues, why does EVERYTHING now have Bluetooth to the point one cannot purchase whatever it is, without it--ie: a rechargeable toothbrush----reallllly? If you do not activate or pair the Bluetooth is it still hackable & if so, is there any way around it if a device has it & one does not want to activate it?

  2. Top
    June 20, 2016 at 1:00 pm

    "Yet even then, 10 meters is the theoretical distance that they’re aiming for. Without any interference, like walls, you’ll find that it sometimes extends beyond that."

    This made my laugh. I have yet to find a BT speaker that works reliably beyond about 1 meter. I've tried high end units from JVC and BOSE, low end units from Logitech, and two Chinese no names. It doesn't matter what the source is, an older iPad, a new iPhone 6s, a Mac, a Lenovo laptop, all of them are unreliable beyond 1 meter.

    I find headsets for phones are generally a little better, I can get 2 or 3 meters before the sound quality goes to heck in a hurry.

    My advice is stick with wired or wifi until BlueTooth is really ready for prime time.

    • Mihir Patkar
      June 30, 2016 at 12:50 pm

      I've done more than 10 meters actually. Used the Soundlink 2 and the iPad Air first-gen.

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