How Many Devices Can Hook Up to One Bluetooth?


Smartphone, white wireless earphones and smart watch

Bluetooth was invented in 1984 by one Ericsson to enable wireless connection between devices. Over time, the applications of Bluetooth have expanded to accessories such as speakers, printers, and many other devices. Often, people want to hook up these devices simultaneously, but they are not sure whether it works or not. As a result, I did a bunch of research, and this article goes through everything I learned.

How Many Devices Can Hook Up to One Bluetooth?

The latest Bluetooth 5 version, released in July 2016, allows multiple devices to connect to one primary Bluetooth at once. However, the maximum number of devices that can hook up to one Bluetooth are 7 Bluetooth-equipped devices.

What Everyday Problems Does Connecting Multiple Devices With Bluetooth Solve?

One of the most common uses of Bluetooth communication between devices is to facilitate the playing of music. Be it with in-ear Bluetooth headsets or your vehicle’s Carplay system, the existence of Bluetooth in everyday consumer electronics has revolutionized the way we consume music. As a ripple effect of Bluetooth’s convenience, we’re now consuming more music than ever before.

Bluetooth is one of the most prominent networking players on the internet of things bandwagon, second only to WiFi. With smart homes being built up worldwide, Bluetooth is one of the ways used to create and maintain dedicated home networks.

While WiFi has proven to be a more efficient networking alternative, this still doesn’t rule out the convenience that Bluetooth brings about when it comes to the networking of home electronics.

File transfer is probably the oldest role of Bluetooth technology. Though faster and more efficient networking alternatives have overtaken it with time, Bluetooth has played a significant role as one of the pioneers of wireless file sharing.

One key thing to consider is that most of the underlying technologies used to implement Bluetooth have been used as stepping stones to get to some of the other personal area networking technologies we enjoy today.

How Bluetooth Solution Connects Devices

There are several similarities between Vikings and Bluetooth technology. First, Bluetooth derives its name from Harald Bluetooth, the king known for bringing together the disagreeing Viking tribes in Denmark. This inspired the invention of Bluetooth, a wireless technology standard used to unite many wireless communication devices.

In addition, both Bluetooth technology and Vikings adopt a master-slave relationship. When two devices connect via Bluetooth, it is known as a piconet. One device becomes the master, and the other is the slave. A single piconet has just one master and one slave. In a multi-slave piconet, a master can have up to seven slaves.

Interestingly, a device can be a master in one piconet and a slave in a different piconet. After a connection, the master device used in pairing could switch to become the slave to receive transmissions.

Can You Connect Many Bluetooth Devices at the Same Time?

It is possible to connect many Bluetooth devices at the same time. However, only one device can be active at a time. Bluetooth connections happen in three distinct ways. There is a pairing device, a connecting device, and an actively communicating Bluetooth device. The three functionalities could be a bit confusing, but they are different. A device can be paired but not connected or active.

To illustrate, when two devices such as a PC and keyboard want to connect for the first time, they are paired. Pairing involves some human interaction where a pairing device prompts a connecting device to generate a bond. This is a one-off process for both devices.

After connecting, the primary Bluetooth device can then pair with an unlimited number of other devices. A database of all paired devices is maintained, and in the future, the two devices can connect without repeating the pairing process. However, at a time, only two devices can actively transmit communication.

 How Can Bluetooth Connect to More Than One Device?

One of the most widely used needs for having a Bluetooth network with multiple devices is file sharing. With one device as the network host, all other devices will connect to it and other devices in the network through it.

The Bluetooth function or service is determined by specifications called Bluetooth profiles. The profile capabilities command Bluetooth-based communication between devices. Therefore, a device must be compatible with the subset of Bluetooth profiles to work in an intended manner. For example, personal computers can connect to a mouse and keyboard via Bluetooth.

However, you cannot connect two or more devices with the same functional profile in some cases. This applies to audio devices such as speakers and headsets. When more than one connection happens, the primary device only selects one device as active. This is because the profile only supports a single stream.

The Bluetooth version and the type of device determine the multipoint functionality capabilities. For example, Bluetooth v5 supports more than one device at once in a connection of up to 120 meters. On the other hand, v4.2 supports one-on-one devices in a connection of up to 30 meters only.

When it comes to connecting multiple devices to one with Bluetooth, there’s the use of multipoint Bluetooth technology. A single device can be connected to multiple other devices through multipoint Bluetooth and interact with both simultaneously. One of the most common uses of multipoint Bluetooth is in the production of wireless multipoint Bluetooth headsets.

While conventional wireless headsets can only connect to a single device at a time, multipoint Bluetooth headsets can connect to two devices and output sound from both devices simultaneously. The use of multipoint Bluetooth in headphone manufacturing can easily be thought of as having two people speaking simultaneously.

To counter the annoyance that would result from having two simultaneous outputs, many manufacturers automate the process of having one output appear in the background as the other takes center stage.

How Does Bluetooth Pairing Work?

For you to enjoy using a Bluetooth device, you first must register the device in advance. The process of registering is known as pairing.

There is no one method of pairing devices since there are different types of devices. Some devices, such as headsets, need to be turned on to make them discoverable. However, others, such as smartphones, have specific steps that make them discoverable.

After this, there is no need to re-register unless the information is overwritten. One scenario in which the device may overwrite pairing information is when a headset is connected to more than eight devices—when this happens, overwriting starts from the oldest pairing information.

The general steps involved in pairing include:

1. Turn on the Bluetooth function in the host and client devices to set them to discovery mode

2. Access the available new Bluetooth devices within your range

3. Select the client device displayed that you wish to pair

4. Confirm the request of identity to add the Bluetooth device to your list of connected devices

To reconnect paired devices, you will turn on the Bluetooth function on your devices and the devices will connect and start transmitting the desired information.

To delete pairing information, select the device you wish to unpair and click remove the device.

How Do I Host Devices and Client Devices

For a device to play host to another when it comes to a Bluetooth configuration, it is like the client-server architecture used in computing. However, there doesn’t have to be that big a difference in processing capabilities between the devices for a client-host setup.

A host device is a device that allows access to a Bluetooth network through a user interface. Some examples of host devices are computers and wireless routers. The host device supports an unlimited number of paired devices at a time. It can support a maximum of up to seven different devices simultaneously.

A client device, on the other hand, includes keyboards, headsets, and controllers. They have a limited number of pairings, usually a maximum of 3-5. They also do not support multipoint functionality, i.e., they support just one connection at a time.

What Are Some Examples Of Bluetooth Devices?

A Bluetooth device is a wireless technology device designed to communicate over a short range of distance. It is useful for personal area networks (PAN) devices such as mobile phones, keyboards, console gaming equipment, headsets, and mice. The devices must be near each other in low bandwidth situations.

Closing thoughts

Regardless of the existence of relatively superior networking technologies, Bluetooth is seemingly here to stay. Its longevity can be attributed to the fact that it operates on an architecture somewhat different from those used by other networking technologies.

The uniqueness of Bluetooth is what makes it so essential, essential enough for us to disregard its shortcomings and keep it around for the convenience it brings.

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