6.3 Bluetooth Service Profiles

As a consumer technology, Bluetooth needs to be widely supported by vendors to be successful. Interoperability, the ability for different devices (from different manufacturers) to work with one another, is the key factor in securing this broad support (many a technology has been stalled because users were frustrated by incompatibilities and finger-pointing among vendors). In Version 1.1 of the Bluetooth specification (the latest at the time of this writing), there are 13 profiles. A profile is a description of a particular functionality and how to implement it based on the specification. Bluetooth device manufacturers use these profiles as a guide to implement specific functionality. With this approach, vendors can be sure that their devices will work with current and future Bluetooth products. Let's take a closer look at the 13 profiles defined in Bluetooth 1.1:

Generic Access Profile

The Generic Access Profile (GAP) defines how two Bluetooth devices discover and establish communications between each other. The GAP is the "mother" of all profiles, as it defines modes and procedures used by all the other profiles.

Service Discovery Application Profile

The Service Discovery Application Profile (SDAP) allows Bluetooth devices to query the services available on other Bluetooth devices.

Cordless Telephony Profile

The Cordless Telephony Profile (CTP) defines how a Bluetooth device can be used as a cordless phone.

Intercom Profile

The Intercom Profile defines how two Bluetooth-enabled phones can connect with each other directly without the use of the public telephone network.

Serial Port Profile

The Serial Port Profile defines how two Bluetooth devices can communicate with each other by using virtual serial ports. Using this profile, Bluetooth communication can be treated as just another serial communication.

Headset Profile

The Headset Profile defines how a headset can communicate with a Bluetooth device.

Dial-up Networking Profile

The Dial-up Networking Profile defines how a Bluetooth device can connect to a Bluetooth-enabled modem or mobile phone.

Fax Profile

The Fax Profile defines how a Bluetooth device can connect to a Bluetooth-enabled fax device, such as a fax machine or a fax-enabled mobile phone like the Sony Ericsson T68i.

LAN Access Profile

The LAN Access Profile defines how a Bluetooth-enabled device can connect to a network using PPP (Point-to-Point Protocol).

Generic Object Exchange Profile

The Generic Object Exchange Profile (GOEP) defines a set of protocols used by applications for exchanging objects.

Object Push Profile

The Object Push Profile is used together with the GOEP to send and receive objects, primarily for exchanging electronic business cards.

File Transfer Profile

The File Transfer Profile is used together with the GOEP to transfer files between two Bluetooth devices.

Synchronization Profile

The Synchronization Profile is used together with GOEP to synchronize calendar and address information between two Bluetooth devices, such as a laptop and cell phone.

In this chapter, we will make use of several of the 13 profiles for file transfer, Internet connectivity, etc.

Using a Bluetooth Headset

You can connect a Bluetooth headset to any Bluetooth-enabled device as long as the device supports the Headset profile. For example, I am able to use my Sony Ericsson T610 to connect to the HBH-60 Bluetooth headset (see Figure 6-11).

You can now talk freely without any wires connecting between your headset and your phone. But you have to get used to the occasional stare that passer-bys will give you (the headset looks futuristic and ahead of its time)!

Figure 6-11. The Sony Ericsson T610 and the Bluetooth Headset HBH-30 (shown with the kind permission of Sony Ericsson; copyright Sony Ericsson 2003)