A Bluetooth® walkie talkie can be a stand-alone two-way radio or an application that can be used on various types of smart phones. Applications, or apps, can be downloaded onto a phone and used to communicate with other people in the vicinity. Like a regular two-way radio, a this type of walkie talkie does not work over long distances and can only be used between two devices that are both equipped with the application.
Using Bluetooth® technology allows smart phones to communicate with each other through short-distance radio waves. It designates an Internet protocol (IP) address to devices that are only designed to communicate with one another at short range. This distance is known as the personal area network and has a radius of approximately 33 feet (10 m). The range for the Bluetooth® walkie talkie application is slightly greater, at about 60 feet (18 m).
To use this application, both parties must have compatible apps on their phones. The phones can then connect to one another over the Bluetooth® network, and the two parties can talk as normal. Moving beyond the maximum range of the device will cause the call to end, and the two parties will not be able to raise each other on the walkie talkie until they come closer together again. The limited range of this application makes it impractical for many different uses because the two people need to be within a close of one-another while using it.
In addition to smartphone applications, there are also walkie talkie devices available that use the Bluetooth® network. These devices are designed to work with a small, wireless ear piece. Security personnel, who may want to look unobtrusive, such as officers in casinos or retail stores, can wear these devices without calling attention to themselves. The lack of the cord on the ear piece also prevents the walkie talkie from snagging on objects and falling out of the wearer’s ear.
Bluetooth® walkie talkies are useful in situations in which failure of the device will not cause serious problems. Military organizations are generally not interested in using these headsets or two-way radios because both of these devices use radio waves to send and receive signals. This creates a potential for interference, which could lead to a dangerous situation if it were to occur during a critical time.