Understanding Bluetooth Headphones – How to Pair With Your Device

For your Bluetooth headphones to be able to communicate with your devices, you need to pair the headphone and the device. In other situations, the process of connecting to a device is called bonding.

As you know, both your Bluetooth headphones and your device should be linked up so that they can share information. There are two basic ways that your devices can connect via Bluetooth. One is called Legacy Pairing, the other is called Secure Simple Pairing or SSP.

Legacy Pairing is the method of bonding that devices having lower than version 2.1 of the Bluetooth specifications can use for pairing with other devices. For the gadgets to successfully pair via Bluetooth, each one must enter a PIN code that matches. That is, the same PIN must be entered by both devices. Although PIN codes for legacy pairing can be up to 16 digits in length, some devices are capable of only up to 4 digits. Such devices are called limited input devices, and in most cases, the PIN is fixed and hard-coded into the Bluetooth device.

Another class of devices that uses legacy pairing are the so-called numeric input devices. Mobile phones usually fall under this class. These devices can make full use of the 16-digit PIN.

A third class of devices using legacy pairing are the alphanumeric input devices. As the name suggests, such devices can use a combination of alphabetic and numeric characters (up to 16 characters in length) for the PIN code used in pairing. Almost all personal computers and smartphones are able to use this input method for pairing.

The other basic method for Bluetooth pairing is Secure Simple Pairing or SSP. This method of pairing Bluetooth devices can be used only for those devices supporting Bluetooth version 2.1 or higher. It is also a more secure method because it uses public key cryptography to ensure that the connection cannot be hacked into.

Devices capable of Secure Simple Pairing can make use of four modes for pairing: “Just Works,” Numeric Comparison, Passkey Entry, and Out of Band (OOB). In “Just Works,” the pairing is automatic, with very little input or intervention from the user. Most Bluetooth headsets use this method. In numeric comparison, both devices need to confirm a 6-digit pass code and make sure that the code is the same on both devices. In passkey entry mode, a 6-digit code must be typed in in order to complete the pairing. In out of band pairing, the devices rely on an external or third-party channel to complete the bonding process.

To be able to use your Bluetooth headphones more expertly, you need to understand how the pairing process works. This way, you can make the most out of your headphones.

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