Bluetooth Basics

Contributors: jimblom
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What is Bluetooth?

Bluetooth is a standardized protocol for sending and receiving data via a 2.4GHz wireless link. It's a secure protocol, and it's perfect for short-range, low-power, low-cost, wireless transmissions between electronic devices.

Bluetooth logo

These days it feels like everything is wireless, and Bluetooth is a big part of that wireless revolution. You'll find Bluetooth embedded into a great variety of consumer products, like headsets, video gamecontrollers, or (of course) livestock trackers.

In our world of embedded electronics hackery, Bluetooth serves as an excellent protocol for wirelessly transmitting relatively small amounts of data over a short range (<100m). It's perfectly suited as a wireless replacement for serial communication interfaces. Or you can use it to create a DIY HID Computer Keyboard. Or, with the right module, it can be used to build a homebrew, wireless MP3-playing speaker.

This tutorial aims to provide a quick overview of the Bluetooth protocol. We'll examine the specifications and profiles that form its foundation, and we'll go over how Bluetooth compares to other wireless protocols.

Looking to get hands-on with Bluetooth development?

We've got you covered!

SparkFun Thing Plus - ESP32 WROOM (Micro-B)

SparkFun Thing Plus - ESP32 WROOM (Micro-B)

SparkFun Pro nRF52840 Mini - Bluetooth Development Board

SparkFun Pro nRF52840 Mini - Bluetooth Development Board


SparkFun Bluetooth Mate Silver

13 Retired

SparkFun Bluetooth Modem - BlueSMiRF Silver

15 Retired

Suggested Reading

  • Serial Communication -- Bluetooth is like a RF version of serial communication.
  • Hexadecimal -- Bluetooth devices all have a unique address, which is usually presented as a hexadecimal value.

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