Any new electronic gadgets like headphones, soundbars, portable Bluetooth speakers, smart watches you will see word that it is using Latest Low energy Bluetooth protocol and hence providing you stable connection as well as extended battery life.
So as a curiosity it is important to know precisely what is that makes happen as compared to the standard old Bluetooth protocol.
First lets understand “What is Bluetooth” ?
- Bluetooth is a wireless technology standard
- In layman words it is the wireless data transfer connection in between your smartphone and headphone, in addition it is also used in number of places like Wireless printers, keyboards, game controllers, speakers, scanners. Useful for hands-free calling, car music, file transfers, video playback and many things in day to day life
- Bluetooth can transmit data in short range (30 feet typical) without the need for wires.
- Operation band :
2400-2483.5 MHz range within the ISM 2.4 GHz frequency band.
ISM band is used for many Industrial, Scientific and Medical devices.
ISM band is also used by baby monitors, cordless phones, even fluorescent lights and microwaves emit the same band.
ISM band frequencies don’t require FCC license to operate and hence most of the manufacturers prefer using Bluetooth.
- Data is split into packets and exchanged through one of the Seventy Nine designated Bluetooth channels (each of which have 1 MHz in bandwidth).
Bluetooth Device Classes
Class one: Industrial use
- Long range upto 330 feet
- Require separate power supply.
Class two: Smartphones & Speakers
- Range = upto 30 feet.
- Used by most of the smart phones and BT speakers in market.
Class three: Low power
- Range = less than 30 feet.
- Low power Bluetooth.
What Is Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) then?
- Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) was introduced in the year 2011 as Bluetooth 4.0 (originally called as Bluetooth Smart)
- Its an enhancement of original Bluetooth protocol
- “LE” stands for Low-energy
- Main feature of Bluetooth 4.0 is its low power consumption
- Which means your device can run on a small battery for the same performance or with the same battery it can run for more number of hours (say playing music or more talk time for headphones)
- One more advantage is that it provides more stable data connection to devices, so you will get lower connection drop issues within same range.
- BLE also operates in the 2.4 GHz ISM band.
- BLE uses two types of packets (Advertising Packets and Scan Response Data)
- As compared to the Classic old Bluetooth, BLE remains in sleep mode constantly, and gets invoked only when a connection is initiated.
- Classic Bluetooth takes around 100 mS for connection, as against BLE gets connected in few milli seconds.
- BLE data transfer rate is also as high as 1 mbps
Summing up Bluetooth Low Energy BLE provides you following benefits as compared to previous Bluetooth protocol
- Extended battery life
- Stable connectivity
- Greater data transfer speeds
Update 22 Feb 2018
Latest Bluetooth T 5.0 vs Bluetooth 4.1
- Both are Low Energy protocol and relevant now a days to the internet of things
- Bluetooth 5.0 has four times the range, two times the speed, and eight times the broadcasting message capacity of older versions of Bluetooth
- The new BT 5.0 wireless data transfer standard that is twice as fast as the ubiquitous Bluetooth 4.2 giving 2 Mbps rate
[remember WiFi data transfer rates are as high as 250 megabits per second]
- Longest range – 800 feet (or 240 meters)
- 800% increase in data-transfer capacity
- Duel Audio capable:
Bluetooth 5.0 allows you to play audio on two connected devices at the same time, so you can connect two pairs of headphones to the same phone simultaneously ! or play different music to different headphones at the same time from the same phone, as an example Dual Audio” on the Samsung Galaxy S8
- It is backward compatible, hence it will work with your old Bluetooth devices, but you will not get all benefits of BT5.0
- Apple’s AirPods use old version of Bluetooth 4.2 and not Bluetooth 5.0
- Bluetooth 5.0 compatible phones iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, iPhone X, Samsung Galaxy S8
- Read more on BT 5.0 on the official Bluetooth 5.0 specifications online
Bluetooth 3.0 Vs. 2.1
|Launched : July 2007 by Bluetooth SIG||Launched : July, 2009|
|version 2.1 + EDR
(Enhanced Data Rate)
|version 3.0 + HS (High Speed)|
|Secure Simple Pairing (SSP) introduced : enables encryption of data exchanged between paired devices||Extended inquiry response (EIR) technology creates stronger authentication procedure for pairing|
|Bluetooth 2.1 devices can provide a maximum data transfer rate of 3 Mbps||Bluetooth 3.0 devices can provide a maximum data transfer rate of 24 Mbps|
Is Bluetooth Radiation as Dangerous as Cell Phone Radiation?
As on now there is not enough research papers available on Bluetooth radiation subject and hence people claim that Bluetooth radiation is low energy / low distance and hence safe. One more thing to claim Bluetooth radiation safe is due to its non-ionizing nature they don’t carry sufficient energy to directly break or alter your DNA, which is one of the way cancer can occur.
- Unreliable connection (in-spite of latest technology improvements in BT5.0)
- Short range
- Uses battery life of both devices
How to connect two Bluetooth devices ?
- Example explained to connect your smartphone to Bluetooth headphones.
- Switch ON the headphones (make sure they are charged.)
- Turn on Bluetooth on your Smartphone.
You can get it in “Settings”, where you will see the runic symbol
- Check for the list of available devices, by now your headphones should appear in the list of devices.
- Rarely you may be asked to enter a PIN on your phone to confirm you’d like to connect.
- After successfully entering the PIN, you should be paired!
- In case it doesn’t need PIN, it will get connected to your headphone in a second.