Every electronic gadget in world like headphones, soundbars, portable Bluetooth speakers, smart watches have Bluetooth facility for communication to other devices and transfer of data. It facilitates wireless transfer of data, music, videos and what not. So question to my mind is What is latest Bluetooth version? Well it is Bluetooth 5.0 and we will see details of it in my post.
In the beginning Bluetooth had two issues, first is high power consumption thus calling for installation of powerful battery and second one was unstable connection, thus users experiencing issues while listening to music over headphones through Bluetooth connection.
As Bluetooth became an inherent part of electronic gadget, it became important to optimize it for consumption of battery power from any gadget. So the technology improvement brought you Latest Low energy Bluetooth protocol BLE and providing you more 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 widely used in numerous of places like Wireless printers, keyboards, game controllers, speakers, scanners.
- In day to day life is is being used for hands-free calling, car music, file transfers, video playback and many things, you can say it can’t be removed from any of the devices you produce.
- Bluetooth can transmit data in short range (typically 30 feet periphery) without the need for wired connection.
- 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
Latest Bluetooth T 5.0 vs Bluetooth 4.1
Bluetooth 5.0 : 8X Data Speed, 800 feet Range, Duel Audio
- Both are Low Energy protocol and relevant now a days to the internet of things
More Speed, More Distance, and Throughput:
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. What it meant is the aptX compression standard which delivers a CD quality audio over 1 Mbps speeds, will surely work better with improved 2 Mbps, so you get even better wireless audio quality.
[remember WiFi data transfer rates are as high as 250 megabits per second]
Longest communication range
800 feet (or 240 meters), this will be super useful for gadgets like a key finder where mostly the device sends and receives only the status updates. However one thing to be kept in mind that Bluetooth has some limitations on range when it encounters obstacles like a concrete wall, or even furniture or wooden doors etc.
- 800% increase in data-transfer capacity
Duel Audio capability :
Bluetooth 5.0 has introduced this cool feature, which 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.
So while you are on travel you and your friend can listen to different tracks from the same phone! really cool!! I feel soon other mobile manufactures will also incorporate Bluetooth 5.0 to give this feature.
- It is backward compatible, hence it will work with your old Bluetooth devices, but you will not get all benefits of Bluetooth 5.0
- Apple’s AirPods are not using latest Bluetooth 5.0 protocol, instead AirPods use old Bluetooth 4.2 protocol with the special Apple W1 chip for an improved connection.
- 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
With a super long range of around 800 feet, home those improvements will slowly extend to IoT devices (Internet Of Things), hopefully replacing WiFi devices with simple Bluetooth 5 connectivity for smart home devices.
Although Bluetooth 5.0 will provide great benefits for gadgets like Headphones, Earbuds, Key finders, Mobile phones, it may not be that much great benefits to items like a Bluetooth mouse connecting to your laptop!
What is situation of Bluetooth 5.0 in mid of year 2018?
Till now only few mobile phones are supporting the latest Bluetooth 5.0 protocol including iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X, HomePod and the 2018 MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, Samsung Galaxy S8.
But having said that most of the companies haven’t started yet building Bluetooth 5 compatible devices! Its obvious that in a customer driven industry, so unless someone comes up with super idea changing the way things work today, BT 5 may not go on high speed track at all!
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.