Bluetooth Technology | Bluetooth Versions | Explained


Bluetooth technology Introduction;

Bluetooth is a technology that allows exchanging data within a short amount of distance from each other

 It is a wireless technology based on mobile computing technology. Being an open wireless technology standard it sends and receives data to connected devices.

It is also known as IEEE 802.15 standard. The data can send and receive at a certain distance (short distance), and it is using a band of 2.4 to 2.485 GHz.

The developing unit (extending its distance) of this technology is a group of 5 companies called Special Interest Group which was formed in 1998. The company is Ericson, Intel, IBM, Nokia, and Toshiba.


Bluetooth Versions;

  1. Bluetooth Version 4.0

This was introduced back in 2010 in the early days of smartphones. It brought some notable improvements over its previous version such as Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) which allows smaller devices like headphones, fitness trackers, and hearing aids to stay connected for longer whilst using less power. Bluetooth 4.0 can more intelligently manage these connections and put them to sleep when not in use.

With 4.0 also came Bluetooth Smart Ready devices, these are your primary devices such as your phone, laptop, or tablet and it allows these devices to act as a hub, sending and receiving information from all the Bluetooth connected gadgets.

  1.  Bluetooth Version 4.1

4.1 brought some important updates. Previous versions of Bluetooth had issues coexisting with 4G otherwise known as LTE. Their signals would interfere with each other and degrade the overall performance and drain battery life.

4.1 ensure there is no overlap between your Bluetooth and 4G connection which was coming to the market around this time.

Another notable improvement with 4.1 is that now all 4.1 devices can serve as both the hub and the endpoint which meant your smart devices didn't have to communicate through your phone, laptop, or tablet anymore, they could communicate directly with each other.

  1.  Bluetooth Version 4.2

Bluetooth 4.2 version saw a huge upgrade in speed, 2 and a half times faster data transmission, and an increase in the number of packets or data that can be sent tenfold.

Bluetooth 4.2 could manage a maximum distance of 60m/240ft.

But perhaps the Bluetooth 4.2 version's most significant improvement was the introduction of support for IPv6 or internet protocol version 6. This allows Bluetooth devices to directly connect to the internet and it played a big part in introducing the era of IoT (Internet of Things).

Now anything from lights to thermostats to fridges can connect to the internet and be controlled by you even remotely. Aside from this, there were some further security and power management improvements.

  1. Bluetooth Version 5.0

Bluetooth 5 moves us closer to current times. With it came another doubling of speed, now 2Mbps over the 1Mbps of Bluetooth version 4.2. The range received a massive upgrade too, the maximum distance increased from 60 meters to 240 meters / 800 feet.

In reality, you won't get this sort of range due to walls, obstacles, and the other connections around you but it's a huge upgrade regardless. Dual-radio also made its appearance, which allows you to play audio on two connected devices at the same time. For example, you could have two Bluetooth speakers connected to your phone at the same time and play audio at the same time.  

This also allows the devices to become stereo pairs and have dedicated left and right channels.

  1. Bluetooth Version 5.1

Bluetooth 5.1 was introduced in 2019 and brought about some new features and further enhancements.  New in this version was the ability for Bluetooth devices to pinpoint your location. This allowed the arrival of Bluetooth-enabled smart tags.

It also improved the speed of the pairing process which uses less power and improves the handling of devices that are broadcasting themselves as available to connect.

  1. Bluetooth Version 5.2

Bluetooth 5.2 came about a year later and contains mostly improvements for audio devices. A lot of this stuff is very technical. In Bluetooth 5.2 there is a new generation of Bluetooth audio called LE Audio (Low Energy Audio).

This contains a new audio codec called LC3(Low Complexity Communication Codec) which provides high-quality audio whilst using low power. It also allows multiple synchronize data streams.

Important worth mentioning is that Bluetooth devices are backward compatible which means you could use Bluetooth 2.0 devices with Bluetooth 5.2 devices none of the benefits of the newer version of Bluetooth will apply and the result will probably not be very good.

I recommended buying a device that supports the latest Bluetooth version unless you have a specific reason not to do so.

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