Bluetooth Signal Strength
Before more advanced forms of file sharing and connectivity came out, Bluetooth ruled this roost for years. A giant leap from its older counterpart, the infrared file transfer system, this new application of radio waves, was both faster and easier to perform, allowing at least twice as much speed and greater distances between the participating devices.
While it falls short to what we have today, i.e., third party connectivity apps and WI-FI direct, this transfer system is still added to devices by companies, owing to its extremely handy and inexpensive utility.
While it's older application is rarely put to use today, its ability to stream signals and audio in real time still upholds its respect among both manufacturers and consumers alike. From huge cars to small optical mice, Bluetooth is a very handy tool to have for one's daily usage, especially in an age where half of our things are expected to be wireless.
We have enjoyed hands-free phone conversations at work and while driving; we have enjoyed wireless music whole on the bus; we've had a smartphone to smartphone communication and many other applications owing to the presence of this marvelous service.
The signal-strength conundrum
While Bluetooth is a great service to be used, it is not devoid of drawbacks. Time and again, it has been criticized for its continuing problem of poor signal strength, which ranges one average room length at the best.
This makes long-range connectivity completely impossible. Even at shorter ranges, you might have noticed, that the connection is not static. Sometimes the devices simply refuse to connect despite being in range, or start switching between connected and not.
This usually happens when the Bluetooth versions of different devices are not the same. To give you a clearer picture, there are four versions—1, 2, 3 and 4(excluding sub-versions), the fourth obviously being the latest. One and two were notorious for having connectivity issues during their time; three was a bit more stable, though. The fourth one is the newest and the best version, apparently giving the fewest issues.
We will leave the technical formalities behind for now and get back to the topic at hand. Bluetooth also seems to prove cumbersome when attempting to connect between different makes of devices or even different devices on varying platforms.
Users might have noticed how problematic it is to connect a laptop to a movie phone, or simply, to connect an Android phone to an iPhone. Sadly, a large part of these issues are out of our control, barring signal strength.
Measuring signal strength
With the risk of getting technical, we will note that Bluetooth signal strength is a measurable quantity. Devices often allow you to check the numerical value for reference. Here is where the term RSSI comes into use. RSSI stands for “received signal strength indication.”arying between 0 to 100, or 0 to 127 in some other devices, it tells you your signal strength, where a smaller number sends a weaker signal and vice versa. However, on your screen and for people not as acquainted with the digital jargon, a forever value ranging from 0 to -60 shows up, a value closer to zero representing a stronger signal.
There are different ways to receive this value. On the most commonly used Microsoft Windows OS, a third party app needs to be downloaded which directly lends you the number.
The OS X gives it to you in your Bluetooth settings without needing another app. The whole process is tedious and definitely not user friendly. Moreover, it does not provide a reason as to why your signals aren't as low as it shows.
Improving signal strength
You are using your laptop, and suddenly your mouse gets disconnected. You are lost in a song on the subway, and suddenly you hear the horrid beeping indicator of disconnection.
These problems are very common, and they obviously need to be fixed. What follows is a small guide to what can be done about all these hitches. The most obvious step is to get simply your devices closer if mobility is not an issue.
However, on Bluetooth-enabled desktops and larger hardware, the problem still remains. The next step is pretty straight forward too.
I've already mentioned that Bluetooth is simply a manifestation of radio waves. Hence, similar to when you remove obstructions from your radio set, do the same with your Bluetooth devices. Remove objects that may block or interfere with the radio signal, especially objects of an electronic nature.
The next step is to try and upgrade to a new driver and/or reinstall the old Bluetooth driver on your device. User-friendly devices will simply prompt you when this is to be done, though manual checking is recommended. However, lot of signal issues are caused by missing or corrupted drivers.
On a new device, your Bluetooth radio might be faulty. You may ask for a warranty replacement. On older devices, due to overheating of the device or simply wear off due to the passage of time, the Bluetooth chip might wear out.
Get it checked by a qualified technician. Due to advancements in technology, the market also provides a Bluetooth signal extender, which is a helpful tool to improve signals on devices with innately bad signal strength. Also, make sure to completely the read user manuals of your devices. A lot of Bluetooth issues are simply caused due to bad usage practices of customers.
Make sure not to use your device in surroundings with a lot of metal as these cause obstructions. Sometimes, disassembly of your device might be required to better understand the range potential of your device.
The trick is the simple and smart usage of your Bluetooth radio. Since it is a device which requires a huge amount of power, it tends to break faster compared to other components of your device. Let your Bluetooth rest between uses.
We hope you enjoy unlimited and uninterrupted connectivity in your devices for the days to come. Stay connected.