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A Bluetooth® laptop is any sort of laptop computer that is equipped with Bluetooth® technology, usually in the form of a wireless card. The card allows the machine to synch with other enabled devices within a close proximity. Many different sorts of laptops across most major brands come with this sort of capability, and in most cases it comes standard — which is to say, the computers are built this way from the start and connectivity isn’t something that consumers have to ask for specially. Bluetooth® technology usually runs in the background, and isn’t something that users may even realize they have if they aren’t using it. A number of computer accessories today are designed to be compatible, though, and in most cases simply turning the Bluetooth® “on” in the laptop’s settings can make it “discoverable,” which allows nearly instantaneous connection to things like printers, wireless keyboards, mice, and even other computers. This, in turn, allows for faster data exchange and greater efficiency.
Understanding the Technology Generally
Bluetooth® is a type of wireless technology that uses short-wave encryptions to send date between devices. Some of the most common applications are found in phone handsets; in these settings they allow people to use their cell phones hands-free, which is often useful when doing something like driving. The idea is the same in the laptop. Wireless cards or ports allow for the exchange of data between a laptop and some other device around the home or office.
Bluetooth® uses short radio wave frequencies to send and receive information. This is similar to how garage door openers and baby monitors work. To avoid interfering with other devices that use radio waves, Bluetooth® signals are usually very weak. Although this stops any interference, it also limits how far a signal can travel. In general, products have to be within about 32 feet (approximately 10 meters) in order to pick up a signal.
Under ideal conditions, Bluetooth® can connect up to eight products simultaneously, usually without interference between them. In part this is because the technology makes use of a practice known as “frequency hopping”: namely, the frequency used between the items changes constantly and quickly, cycling through seventy-nine possible frequencies.
Benefits of a Laptop Connection
With a Bluetooth® connection, laptops can be easily connected to printers, digital cameras, cell phones, personal digital assistants (PDAs), headsets, and gaming controls, among other things. Information can also be easily sent from one enabled laptop to another without wires or a network connection. Laptops can also be linked to medical equipment, allowing doctors to monitor a patient’s condition remotely — or at least from another room.
Being able to wirelessly sync a laptop to other wireless devices is one of the big selling points of a Bluetooth® laptop. Transferring data from one gadget to the other, quickly and using very little energy, makes Bluetooth® great for setting up a small network, either at home or at the office.
Another benefit to this sort of connectivity involves the Internet. Typically Bluetooth® doesn’t need the Internet to function, but it can still harness it. A laptop that is so enabled can sometimes connect to the web through a Bluetooth®-enabled smart phone. Because the smart phones can access the web through its cellular data connection, the laptop can in turn connect and access the web the same way.
Some wireless hotspots, particularly those in closed locations like hospitals or schools, are also using Bluetooth® connections for their networks. A broadband connection can also be used, but can be more costly and more vulnerable to crashes and hacks.
Other Common Features
In most cases a Bluetooth® laptop will come with the full range of features found in non-Bluetooth® laptops. They range in price, available features, and processor speeds. The only difference is that they have a Bluetooth® adapter, either built in or added on. Laptops can be bought with Bluetooth® connectivity already installed or it can be added on later, usually with a Universal Serial Bus (USB) device.