Bluetooth 5 Is Now Officially Here
Here comes Bluetooth 5, the latest iteration of Bluetooth wireless technology, and it brings with it some very interesting updates, including faster connection speeds (twice quicker), longer range of coverage (four times better than before), and bigger broadcast message capacity (eight times larger). Moreover, Bluetooth 5 comes with more efficient interoperability and compatibility with other types of wireless tech, most particularly long term evolution (LTE) technology.
According to Steve Hegenderfer, the director of Developer Programs at the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (which officially adopted Bluetooth 5 as the newest version of Bluetooth this week), Bluetooth 5 will bring interoperability with Wi-Fi into a whole new level never seen before. In today’s Bluetooth wireless tech, coexistence with Wi-Fi is made possible through channel hopping, wherein Bluetooth actively avoid channels being utilized by Wi-Fi connections. As for coexistence with LTE, a feature called Slot Availability Mask (SAM) is being used. This feature basically detects for active LTE radios that are transmitting information, and then making sure not to stay on a specific channel that is next to the one being used by LTE.
The idea of coexistence is gaining traction these days, especially with the growing acceptance of the concept of the Internet of Things. For sure, LTE will play a big part in bringing the Internet of Things to life, but this particular form of wireless tech will not be the only resource for connecting everything in the near future. It is a good bet that Bluetooth will have a role, too. This is why it is critical for both types of wireless tech to find a way to better get along with each other.
A few years ago, Bluetooth Low Energy was introduced, and some of the key features present in Bluetooth 5 have resulted from the increased growth and acceptance of Bluetooth Low Energy. As the idea of the Internet of Things grows bigger and more popular, the number of connected devices used by people is also expected to increase exponentially. Some of those devices will surely make use of Bluetooth 5, and industry watchers are now saying that within a matter of months, mobile users should start to see Bluetooth 5 gadgets out in the market by then.
Of course, like all other wireless tech, Bluetooth will continue to evolve. Hegenderfer is already talking about the potential of mesh technology, which has the ability to further improve the range of Bluetooth devices.