Bluetooth 5 Bringing a Significant Upgrade

Carl Weinschenk
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Bluetooth is everywhere, and it is about to drastically increase its functionality. Bluetooth 5 will officially be unveiled this week at Discover Blue in London by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG), according to InformationWeek.

The current standard, for a few more days, at least, is Bluetooth 4.2. The claimed advances for the new standard are impressive. Bluetooth 5.0 will double the speed and increase the range of the previous standard by a factor of four. Improvements are also being made in connectionless services -- examples are navigation and location-specific information -- in the new standard.

Bluetooth SIG has the Internet of Things (IoT) and related technologies firmly in mind:


The goal of these improvements is to accelerate applications such as industrial automation, smart infrastructure, smart homes, and location-based services. Nearly 3 billion devices shipped each year include Bluetooth technology, the organization reported.

TechRadar offers detail on Bluetooth 5. It will top out at a theoretical 2 Megabits per second (Mbps). That speed is unlikely to be common in practice, but the new standard will lead to significantly faster throughput for users. The distance will top out at 1,000 feet or more.

NFC World elaborated on the expanded beacon capabilities and pointed out that it will lead to expanded advertising opportunities with Bluetooth 5.

New equipment with Bluetooth 5 chips will be necessary. Older gear will be backward compatible with the new standard and therefore work, but won’t offer the new and improved features. Two key uses of Bluetooth, of course, are wireless keyboards and wireless speakers. In a few months, these, or ones like them, will be faster and work over greater distances.

Carl Weinschenk covers telecom for IT Business Edge. He writes about wireless technology, disaster recovery/business continuity, cellular services, the Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communications and other emerging technologies and platforms. He also covers net neutrality and related regulatory issues. Weinschenk has written about the phone companies, cable operators and related companies for decades and is senior editor of Broadband Technology Report. He can be reached at cweinsch@optonline.net and via twitter at @DailyMusicBrk.



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