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Chapter: Computer Networks : Data Link Layer

Bluetooth: Architecture and Devices

Bluetooth is a wireless LAN technology designed to connect devices of different functions such as telephones, notebooks, computers (desktop and laptop), cameras, printers, coffee makers, and so on.



Bluetooth is a wireless LAN technology designed to connect devices of different functions such as telephones, notebooks, computers (desktop and laptop), cameras, printers, coffee makers, and so on. A Bluetooth LAN is an ad hoc network, which means that the network is formed spontaneously; the devices, sometimes called gadgets, find each other and make a network called a piconet.


Bluetooth technology is the implementation of a protocol defined by the IEEE 802.15 standard. The standard defines a wireless personal-area network (PAN) operable in an area the size of a room or a hall.


1. Architecture

Bluetooth defines two types of networks: piconet and scatternet.




A Bluetooth network is called a piconet, or a small net. A piconet can have up to eight stations, one of which is called the primary, the rest are called secondaries. All the secondary stations synchronize their clocks and hopping sequence with the primary. Note that a piconet can have only one primary station. The communication between the primary and the secondary can be one-to-one or one-to-many.




Piconets can be combined to form what is called a scatternet. A secondary station in one piconet can be the primary in another piconet. This station can receive messages from the primary in the first piconet (as a secondary) and, acting as a primary, deliver them to secondaries in the second piconet. A station can be a member of two piconets.



2. Bluetooth Devices


A Bluetooth device has a built-in short-range radio transmitter. The current data rate is 1 Mbps with a 2.4-GHz bandwidth. This means that there is a possibility of interference between the IEEE 802.11b wireless LANs and Bluetooth LANs.


Bluetooth Layers

Bluetooth uses several layers that do not exactly match those of the Internet model


Radio Layer


The radio layer is roughly equivalent to the physical layer of the Internet model. Bluetooth devices are low-power and have a range of 10 m.


Bluetooth uses a 2.4-GHz ISM band divided into 79 channels of 1 MHz each.




Bluetooth uses the frequency-hopping spread spectrum (FHSS) method in the physical layer to avoid interference from other devices or other networks. Bluetooth hops 1600 times per second, which means that each device changes its modulation frequency 1600 times per second. A device uses a frequency for only 625µ s (1/1600 s) before it hops to another frequency; the dwell time is 625µ s




To transform bits to a signal, Bluetooth uses a sophisticated version of FSK, called GFSK. GFSK has a carrier frequency. Bit 1 is represented by a frequency deviation above the carrier; bit 0 is represented by a frequency deviation below the carrier. The frequencies, in megahertz, are defined according to the following formula for each channel:

fc=2402+n, n =0, 1,2,3, ..., 78


Baseband Layer


The baseband layer is roughly equivalent to the MAC sublayer in LANs. The access method is TDMA. The primary and secondary communicate with each other using time slots. The length of a time slot is exactly the same as the dwell time, 625 µ s. This means that during the time that one frequency is used, a sender sends a frame to a secondary, or a secondary sends a frame to the primary. Note that the communication is only between the primary and a secondary; secondaries cannot communicate directly with one another.




Bluetooth uses a form of TDMA that is called TDD-TDMA (time division duplex TDMA). TDD-TDMA is a kind of half-duplex communication in which the secondary and receiver send and receive data, but not at the same time (half duplex); however, the communication for each direction uses different hops. This is similar to walkie-talkies using different carrier frequencies.




The Logical Link Control and Adaptation Protocol, or L2CAP (L2 here means LL), is roughly equivalent to the LLC sublayer in LANs. It is used for data exchange on an ACL link; SCQ channels do not use L2CAP. The I6-bit length field defines the size of the data, in bytes, coming from the upper layers. Data can be up to 65,535 bytes. The channel ID (CID) defines a unique identifier for the virtual channel created at this level.


Connecting LANs, Backbone Networks, and Virtual LANs


LANs do not normally operate in isolation. They are connected to one another or to the Internet. To connect LANs, or segments of LANs, we use connecting devices. Connecting devices can operate in different layers of the Internet model.


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