The updated version of Bluetooth: smarter, faster, stronger

The updated version of Bluetooth: smarter, faster, stronger


A faster Bluetooth with better capabilities now available! Bluetooth 5, the new connection of your gadgets

This Wednesday, following a number of teases, the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (CIG) made available the new generation of Bluetooth, officially known hereafter as Bluetooth 5.

The most interesting specificity brought about by the updated product is that it supposedly quadruple the range, while also doubling the speed of wireless connections over Bluetooth protocol for connecting smartwatches, fitness trackers and smart home gadgets.

When it comes to Internet of Things (IoT) devices, i.e. the interconnected smart devices, it is the belief of the Bluetooth SIG that the fifth version betters both the former version and the other standards like LTE and WiFi in avoiding the congestion of wireless channels. In fewer words, this means a much better connection between gadgets.

Another update worth mentioning is the 8x boost to the “broadcast message capacity”. This enables, for example, your smartphone receiving relevant data based on location. On the one hand, this could help you find necessary products, places or services in your vicinity, while the marketers, also able to track their customers’ location, may send them targeted ads.

Though launched this week, Bluetooth 5 will require new, updated devices for its capabilities to work at full capacity. While devices with older Bluetooth connections may indeed communicate with the most updated version, devices with Bluetooth 5 chips incorporated are expected to be on the market in the following two to six months.

For the moment, Bluetooth 5 does not offer any improvement to audio, except for the benefit that derives from its wider range, which might enable wireless headphones stay connected from a larger distance. SIG have nevertheless announced that bringing the wireless audio protocol to the next level is scheduled for next year. An improvement in this specificity would boost the use of headphones with computing abilities, the so-called “hearables”, such as Bragi’s Dash or AirPods, produced by Apple. Another improvement not yet available but scheduled to enhance the capabilities of Bluetooth is mesh networking, which will allow Bluetooth devices function as hubs able to expand the Bluetooth connection.

The question that remains unanswered up to this moment is whether Bluetooth 5 will be able to address the many dissatisfactions expressed at the standard over the years. Be it as it may, it will undoubtedly play an important role on a market on which interconnected devices are launched at such a rate as they are nowadays.