A master Bluetooth device can communicate with a maximum of seven devices in a piconet (an ad-hoc computer network using Bluetooth technology), though not all devices support this limit. The devices can switch roles, by agreement, and the slave can become the master (for example, a headset initiating a connection to a phone will necessarily begin as master, as initiator of the connection; but may subsequently prefer to be slave).
The Bluetooth Core Specification provides for the connection of two or more piconets to form a scatternet, in which certain devices simultaneously play the master role in one piconet and the slave role in another.
At any given time, data can be transferred between the master and one other device (except for the little-used broadcast mode). The master chooses which slave device to address; typically, it switches rapidly from one device to another in a round-robin fashion. Since it is the master that chooses which slave to address, whereas a slave is (in theory) supposed to listen in each receive slot, being a master is a lighter burden than being a slave. Being a master of seven slaves is possible; being a slave of more than one master is difficult. The specification is vague as to required behaviour in scatternets.
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by Jake Hertz
by Jake Hertz