This HP A618 Photosmart Compact Photo Printer uses Bluetooth technology to link with other devices, including digital cameras.

Courtesy Amazon

Bluetooth Printers

Over the last few years, Bluetooth technology has become more popular in the world of electronics. Bluetooth devices transmit data using low-powered radio signals in the 2.4 gigahertz range (GHz) [source: Bluetooth].

There are two different classes of Bluetooth devices. The weaker class can transmit signals over a 10-meter (33-foot) range. The other class can send signals as far as 100 meters (328 feet) away. Bluetooth technologies allow users to create personal-area networks (PANs). Devices can detect and interact with one another as they come within range of each other.

Unlike IrDA, Bluetooth signals aren't dependent upon line of sight. Bluetooth networks can extend beyond walls, doors and even different levels of a building. As long as the devices are within range, they can interact. Bluetooth devices can transmit data at a rate of up to 3 Mbps to other Bluetooth devices in range [source: Bluetooth].

Some printers and computers come with Bluetooth transceivers already installed. Others require an adapter in order to use Bluetooth signals. In many ways, the process of sending and receiving a Bluetooth signal is similar to IrDA devices. Instead of converting computer data into pulses of light, a Bluetooth device converts the information into radio signals and transmits them. Other Bluetooth devices receive the signals and convert them back into data.

With a Bluetooth network, it's possible to send print jobs from multiple devices to the same printer. You can have your very own network printer at home.

Another way to print wirelessly is through a WiFi network. Find out more about it in the next section.