Wireless Network Administration: Using Bluetooth - dummies

Wireless Network Administration: Using Bluetooth

Many computers sold today — especially laptop computers and PDAs — come equipped with Bluetooth technology. If your computer doesn’t already support Bluetooth, you can easily add Bluetooth support. Just purchase a USB Bluetooth adapter, which is a small device that plugs into any available USB port on your computer. After you plug it in, your computer is Bluetooth enabled and can connect to any other Bluetooth device that’s in range.

Many companies make Bluetooth USB adapters, and most look and work similarly. The illustration below shows an adapter made by Linksys that sells for about $40.

[Credit: Photo courtesy of Linksys.]
Credit: Photo courtesy of Linksys.

Using Bluetooth in Windows

Unfortunately, the original version of Windows XP didn’t have any support for Bluetooth. When Microsoft released Windows XP Service Pack 1 a few years later, it included limited Bluetooth support. Windows XP Service Pack 2 included excellent built-in support for Bluetooth, as does Windows Vista and Windows 7.

If your computer has Bluetooth, a special Bluetooth icon will appear in the System Tray (the panel at the right side of the taskbar). You can click this icon to bring up a menu with the following choices:

  • Add a Bluetooth Device

  • Show Bluetooth Devices

  • Send a File

  • Receive a File

  • Join a Personal Area Network

  • Open Bluetooth Settings

  • Remove Bluetooth Icon

Installing a USB Bluetooth Adapter

Installing a USB Bluetooth adapter is easy. All you have to do is install the software provided with the adapter and plug the adapter into a free USB port. Usually, you can start the installation process by inserting the CD that comes with the adapter into your CD drive. Then, the installation program automatically starts up.

After the installation program starts, follow its steps and plug the adapter in when the installation program instructs you to.

Be sure to follow the installation instructions that come with the adapter. In most cases, you should install the software that comes with the adapter before you plug in the adapter.

Enabling Discovery

By default, your computer remains hidden from other Bluetooth devices. If you want other Bluetooth devices to be able to recognize your computer, you need to enable a feature called discovery. Here are the steps:

  1. Right-click the Bluetooth icon in the system tray and choose Open Bluetooth Settings from the shortcut menu.

  2. In the Bluetooth Properties dialog box that appears, click the Options tab.

  3. Select the Turn Discovery On check box.

  4. Select the Allow Bluetooth Devices to Connect to This Computer check box.

  5. Select the Alert Me When a New Bluetooth Device Wants to Connect check box.

  6. Click OK.

Installing a Bluetooth Mouse or Keyboard

Installing a Bluetooth-enabled mouse or keyboard is easy. The only trick, ironically, is that you have to have a normal mouse or keyboard installed before you can install a Bluetooth mouse or keyboard. However, after you install the Bluetooth mouse or keyboard, you can unplug the normal mouse or keyboard.

The main trick to installing a Bluetooth mouse or keyboard is that you must first enable discovery on the mouse or keyboard. Most Bluetooth mice and keyboards have a button on the bottom to do this.

After Bluetooth is enabled, you can install the mouse or keyboard by right-clicking the Bluetooth icon in the system and choosing the Add a Bluetooth Device command. Then, follow the wizard’s steps to install the mouse or keyboard.