What is Bluetooth 5 and why should you care?

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What is BLUETOOTH 5?

“Everything is better with Bluetooth”, according to the fictional physicist Dr.Sheldon Cooper on popular TV series the Big Bang Theory. It sometimes seems that everything is equipped with one or the other variety of this wireless networking technology. The latest and the greatest member added to the family of wireless specifications is BLUETOOTH 5 by the Bluetooth SIG. SIG has given an intriguing glimpse into the capabilities bluetooth 5 upholds. It extends the functionality set already provided by the previous versions of Bluetooth core specifications. it promises “up to 4xthe range,2xthe speed and 8xthe broadcasting message capacity” to power the internet of things.

Bluetooth 5 is designed with the Internet of things in mind and will make it easier for devices to display location awareness and the ability to process contextual data based on what a person person is doing with the respective Bluetooth product.

Wireless devices that support the Bluetooth 5 standard, which promises to bring faster performance, long range and enhanced security will start to reach market during 2017

The key features of Bluetooth 5

  • Increased bandwidth with low energy(2xspeed): Bluetooth5 has introduced a new capability to increase the bandwidth from 1mbps to 2mbps. This reduces t time required for transmitting and receiving of data, facilitating rapid and reliable updates for mobile devices. This is a strong constraint w.r.t time and also will have a strong impact on streaming media and increase capacity for activities such as marketing content, industrial process monitoring and controlling traffic.

  • Increased range for low energy (4xrange): Bluetooth5 quadruples the range than its predecessors .This also means that bluetooth5 can replace WIFI as a communication technology for most IoT users. For example, it will provide users with full control over their smart home products. Since no access points or the routers will be required the bluetooth5 reduces the infrastructure costs as against the WIFI and also tends to be easier on battery life.

  • Increased broadcasting messaging capacity (8xbroadcasting): Bluetooth5 will showcase 8 times increase in broadcasting messaging capacity for connectionless traffic compared to the earlier versions of the standard. This means the data being transferred will be richer and more intelligent. For example, instead of using BLE with paired devices, the enhanced broadcasting capacity will enable connectionless services like beacons, geo targeted information and navigation. Thus, no other additional app or any setup connection beforehand will be required

  • Better battery life: There are technology enhancements requiring more power and some designed to conserve power. With all the improvements in range and bandwidth, the Bluetooth SIG said in its statement in June’16 that reduced overhead and advances in protocols will allow Bluetooth 5 devices to improve the battery life by a bit. Still, you will need to think about batteries while designing the IoT projects and mobile device apps.

  • Promises better security: With hackers now targeting Internet of Things devices, Bluetooth 5 will need to deliver better security. The Bluetooth SIG has said that its new technology has been secured to confront some of the attacks it might face in time. Bluetooth SIG though did not share much detail on security enhancements they are sure and promises that Bluetooth 5 will be a harder hack than Bluetooth 4.

Commonly asked questions about Bluetooth5

Find some important tidbits below:

  • BLUETOOTH5 is NOT replacing the earlier versions of Bluetooth 4.2, 4.1 or 4.0.It is merely extending the functionality provided by the previous versions of the Bluetooth Core Specification.

  • Bluetooth 5 WILL include Bluetooth with low energy functionality.

  • There are NO mandatory features to be implemented to claim compliance to Bluetooth 5.

Thus the faster speed, long range and error correction features in Bluetooth5 will make it easier to push firmware to devices. It continues to revolutionize how people experience the IoT by delivering reliable IoT connections and mobilizing the adoption of beacons,which in turn will decrease connection barriers and enable a seamless IoT experience.

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