Yes, really. Chances are, as you are reading this, you likely own quite a few Bluetooth enabled devices. Many modern devices that connect to a mobile phone or computer – keyboards, headphones, mouses, speakers, without the aid of wires or USBs, make use of Bluetooth technology. Most laptops, desktops and mobile phones nowadays come with Bluetooth as a stock standard feature, which allows them to connect to one another also. Bluetooth is all but a fazed-out technology!
Bluetooth version five was announced in June 2016 by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) and adopted in December. Read on to find out how Bluetooth operates, and why you should be excited for version 5.
Bluetooth works through radio waves
Bluetooth enabled devices come with tiny computer chips that contain radio technology. Bluetooth devices ‘pair’ with each other via piconets (a network of devices that connect through Bluetooth), with one device assuming the role of ‘master’ and the others that of ‘slaves’. Piconets are established spontaneously as devices enter and exit network proximity.
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There’s and ‘old’ and ‘new’ Bluetooth
Bluetooth versions 1.0 through to 3.0 incorporate ‘Classic Bluetooth’, which has a much shorter range (not much more than 10 meters). ‘New’ Bluetooth (versions 4.0, 4.1 and 4.20, known as Low Energy Bluetooth (BLE) nominally extends up to 30 meters, but is able to extend up to 100 depending on the environment.
Since these two strains of Bluetooth are not compatible with each other, modern Bluetooth enabled devices contain separate chips for ‘Classic’ and BLE, enabling them to pair with both. The iPhone 4S was the first BLE device on the market.
SIG claims Bluetooth version 5 is able to connect as much as four times that of the original range, by including a strong forward-error-correction (FEC), which trades off speed for range (this is beneficial for some applications).
It’s more than twice as fast as Bluetooth 4.2
Bluetooth 5 is labelled as being 2.5 times faster than its predecessor, due to being able to detect interference at the band edges of connections.
Research indicates that by 2020, there will be more than 371 million Bluetooth enabled beacons globally. This will eliminate the need for devices to pair with each other, since they’ll always be connected on the network.
Greater message capability
Due to greater range and faster speed, Bluetooth 5 makes data-less broadcasts eight times faster.
But what about Apple?
Macs, iPads and iPhones can expect to see products supporting Bluetooth 5 within two to six months.
The exciting advances in Bluetooth technology means that connections achieved through Bluetooth, including the streaming of files between devices, will soon be a near-effortless, smooth process.