A Bluetooth dongle is an adapter used on non-Bluetooth enabled computers to connect wirelessly to a Bluetooth device. Most dongles plug into a USB port. A Bluetooth enabled computer has the adapter installed with the hardware inside the device, allowing the user to preserve USB ports for other uses.
Bluetooth technology uses radio waves to allow communication between two devices. Both Apple and Windows devices are compatible with the technology. Computer peripherals, including wireless keyboards and mice often use this technology.
For many individuals, the cellular telephone brought their first Bluetooth device. Earpieces and microphones allow the user hands-free use of the cellular device. Further development of technology and advancement of cellular devices as mobile hotspots allows users to connect a computer or other device to a cell phone for Internet access.
Bluetooth and Wi-Fi operate using unlicensed radio broadcasting. Both operate in similar radio frequencies, but use different modulation techniques. Wi-Fi offers a replacement for wired networking. It broadcasts over longer distances than Bluetooth and offers greater security. However, Wi-Fi also requires more expensive equipment, such as a separate base station, and often uses more power. Bluetooth is ideal for data transfers between two devices that are in relatively close proximity to one another.