Bluetooth has been around since 1994 and was originally developed as a wireless replacement for RS-232 data cables according to Bluetooth.com, the official website from the company that invented the technology. Bluetooth connects with radio transmissions and creates a personal area network that links your devices. The website lists an effective range of approximately 100 meters, or 328 feet, depending on the implementation of your device. It should be noted that most factory range estimates are measured under ideal conditions, and your actual effective range may differ.

Several Factors Determine Range

Bluetooth uses have increased since its inception and include integration with other devices that include computers, tablets, home audio and video gear, and portable speakers. With all of these devices competing for signal, dropouts may occur. Several issues can impact effective range of Bluetooth transmissions according to Bluetrace, a Bluetooth marketing and solutions company, which states that range is determined not only by the transmitter, but by the device receiving the signals as well. All devices operating on your Bluetooth network need to be functioning properly to get the best results. Other causes of reduced range include atmospheric conditions, geographic location and urban structures such as buildings.

Determining Bluetooth Signal Strength

If your Bluetooth devices are experiencing dropouts, first check the signal strength, measured as a received signal strength indication value. According to a Cnet.com April 2013 article, signal strength ratings are as follows: 0 to -60 is good; -61 to -70 is okay; -71 to -90 is poor; and less than -90 is bad. On tablets and computers, you can find the rating under the Bluetooth settings menu. For most phones, find the signal strength by going to the settings and selecting the Bluetooth option.

Connection and Signal Issues

Microsoft notes several strategies to help you identify solutions to Bluetooth connection issues in Windows-based devices. Your devices could be too close together and therefore interfere with each other's signal strength, so try moving the devices around to solve this issue. Your devices may be too busy or battling other devices for connections. For example, a wireless printer that is in use could be prohibiting your wireless mouse from functioning. Waiting until the printer is finished should solve this problem. Another possible barrier to Bluetooth communication is security. Occasionally components like keyboards and mice can be reset. The solution to this problem is reinstalling the device.

Improving the Bluetooth Signal

Several troubleshooting steps are applicable to a wide range of Bluetooth devices. First, check the device’s batteries to see if they are fully charged or functioning properly. A poor battery connection can cause a reduced signal. You can find battery charge and usage data in the Bluetooth menu or system preferences. If your device has removable batteries, check for any corrosion in the battery compartment. The location of the transmitter or antenna can also affect range. You may experience drop-outs if your room has other wireless devices or possible obstacles to the Bluetooth signal. These can include pipes, the home's wiring system, or even metal screen doors. By moving your devices around the room, you can often overcome these signal obstructions and improve signal strength and ultimately, performance.