How Does a Bluetooth Transmitter and Receiver Work?

man listening to music on headphones
In today's world, many devices use Bluetooth technology to communicate with one another using short-range signals. This includes phones, tablets, laptops, and even cars. It was developed in 1994 as a way to replace cables and connectors between devices. Today, it is used in a variety of applications, including audio and video streaming, file sharing, and connecting to the internet.

Believe it or not, Bluetooth is a form of radio communication. Just like the old analog FM radios that you might find in your grandparents' garage, Bluetooth uses electromagnetic waves to send signals from one device to another. But how does a Bluetooth transmitter work, and how does a Bluetooth receiver work?

Some quick facts:

  • To use Bluetooth, two devices need to be paired. This means they are connected and can communicate with each other.
  • In order to do this, the devices must be within range of each other (usually 10 meters or 30 feet). The distance may be less if there are obstacles in the way, such as walls.
  • Once they are paired, they can communicate within this range, but will disconnect once they are out of range.
  • The devices can be unpaired at any time and will need to be paired again if they want to communicate.
  • Some newer versions of Bluetooth can transmit data at much higher speeds than older versions. This allows for better quality audio and video streaming. It also reduces the chance of connection drops and interference from other wireless signals.
So, how does a Bluetooth transmitter work? For easier understanding, you first need to know a little bit about how electromagnetic waves work.

How Electromagnetic Waves Work

Electromagnetic waves are created whenever an electric field and a magnetic field interact. The strength of the wave is determined by the strength of the electric and magnetic fields. The electric field is created by electrically charged particles. The magnetic field is created whenever a current flows through a conductor (like a wire). When the electric and magnetic fields interact, they create an electromagnetic wave.

While this does explain the basics of how a Bluetooth transmitter works, there’s still a little more to it: the waves themselves. The strength of the electric field determines how much energy is carried by the wave. The strength of the magnetic field determines how much information can be carried by the wave. The amount of information that can be carried by an electromagnetic wave is called its bandwidth. The higher the frequency of the wave, the more information it can carry. That's why radio waves are used to carry information like music and TV signals. Radio waves have a very high frequency, so they can carry a lot of information.

Bluetooth waves have a much lower frequency than radio waves. That means they can't carry as much information. However, how a Bluetooth transmitter’s waves work does give it one big advantage over radio waves: they can be easily scattered by objects. Scattering is important because it allows Bluetooth devices to communicate even when there are obstacles between them. That’s how despite your head being in the way when talking on a Bluetooth headset, a bluetooth transmitter still does work. The waves scatter around your head and still reach your phone without any issues.

How A Bluetooth Transmitter Uses Them To Send Signals

Now that we know how electromagnetic waves work, how does a Bluetooth transmitter work when it comes to sending signals? A Bluetooth transmitter contains a small antenna that produces an electromagnetic wave. This wave is then modulated or changed to carry information. The signal is sent out from the antenna, and it travels through the air until it reaches the receiver. The receiver has its own antenna that picks up the signal and demodulates it, or decodes it, in order to extract the information that was originally sent.

Understanding the Bluetooth Transmission Process

A Bluetooth transmitter is a device that takes an audio signal from a source like your TV and wirelessly streams it to your headphones. How a Bluetooth transmitter works and does this is actually pretty simple. The Bluetooth transmitter converts the audio signals into radio waves using a technology called frequency-hopping spread spectrum (FHSS). FHSS works by rapidly switching the transmission frequency, which makes it difficult for someone to eavesdrop on the signal.

Once the audio signal has been converted into radio waves, it is transmitted to the receiver (your headphones or speaker). The receiver then converts the radio waves back into audio signals so you can hear them. Bluetooth transmitters come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but they all perform the same basic function. So now when someone asks you “how does a Bluetooth transmitter work?” you can tell them!

One thing to note is that not all Bluetooth transmitters are created equal. Some only support certain codecs, which can impact sound quality. So, if you're looking for the best possible audio experience, make sure to choose a transmitter that supports aptX HD or LD. Now that you know how a Bluetooth transmitter works, you might be wondering how a Bluetooth receiver works.

How Does a Bluetooth Receiver Work?

woman listening to music in wirelaee earbuds

So, how does a Bluetooth receiver work? A Bluetooth receiver is a device that connects to your non-Bluetooth audio system. It uses a Bluetooth antenna to receive the signal from your phone or music player and then sends it to the audio system. The advantage of using a Bluetooth receiver is that you don't have to worry about compatibility issues between your phone and the audio system. For instance, if you want to use a Bluetooth speaker with your non-Bluetooth audio system, you can just connect the speaker to the receiver (which usually come with either USB, standard 3.5mm auxiliary input jacks, or RCA jacks), and with how a Bluetooth transmitter/receiver connection works, that does everything you need for it to function correctly!

Learn More and Shop Bluetooth Transmitters and Receivers

Teaching fellow hobbyists how a Bluetooth transmitter or receiver works is exactly what Jameco Electronics does best. But that’s not all — we sell a variety of Bluetooth transmitters and receivers, as well as more educational resources to help you learn more about how they work. Whether you're working on a DIY project or want to add Bluetooth streaming capability to your business or school project, we have the products and expertise to help you get started. Have any questions? Get help from our experts.