Bluetooth 5.0

Bluetooth is a wireless technology standard for exchanging data over short distances (using short-wavelength UHF radio waves in the ISM band from 2.4 to 2.485 GHz) from fixed and mobile devices. Invented by telecom vendor Ericsson in 1994, it was originally conceived as a wireless alternative to RS-232 data cables.

Bluetooth is named after the 10th century king Harald Bluetooth.


Who Controls Bluetooth?

Bluetooth is managed by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG), which has more than 30,000 member companies in the areas of telecommunication, computing, networking, and consumer electronics. The IEEE standardized Bluetooth as IEEE 802.15.1, but no longer maintains the standard.

The Bluetooth SIG oversees development of the specification, manages the qualification program, and protects the trademarks. It is a not-for-profit group based in Kirkland, Washington, that promotes the use of Bluetooth and counts among its members a who’s who of the tech world, including Apple, Intel, IBM and Microsoft. It oversees the licensing of Bluetooth technologies and trademarks to manufacturers.

The Bluetooth SIG has just released the specifications for Bluetooth 5.0, which aims to dramatically improve its performance as well as removing one of the most frustrating aspects of using the technology today.

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About Bluetooth:

Bluetooth operates at frequencies between 2402 and 2480 MHz, or 2400 and 2483.5 MHz including guard bands 2 MHz wide at the bottom end and 3.5 MHz wide at the top. This is in the globally unlicensed (but not unregulated) Industrial, Scientific and Medical (ISM) 2.4 GHz short-range radio frequency band. Bluetooth uses a radio technology called frequency-hopping spread spectrum. Bluetooth divides transmitted data into packets, and transmits each packet on one of 79 designated Bluetooth channels. Each channel has a bandwidth of 1 MHz. It usually performs 800 hops per second, with Adaptive Frequency-Hopping (AFH) enabled. Bluetooth low energy uses 2 MHz spacing, which accommodates 40 channels.


Bluetooth is a packet-based protocol with a master-slave structure. One master may communicate with up to seven slaves. All devices share the master's clock. Packet exchange is based on the basic clock, defined by the master, which ticks at 312.5 µs intervals. Two clock ticks make up a slot of 625 µs, and two slots make up a slot pair of 1250 µs. In the simple case of single-slot packets the master transmits in even slots and receives in odd slots. The slave, conversely, receives in even slots and transmits in odd slots. Packets may be 1, 3 or 5 slots long, but in all cases the master's transmission begins in even slots and the slave's in odd slots.


Bluetooth vs. Wi-Fi:

Bluetooth and Wi-Fi have some similar applications: setting up networks, printing, or transferring files. Wi-Fi is intended as a replacement for high speed cabling for general local area network access in work areas or home. This category of applications is sometimes called wireless local area networks (WLAN). Bluetooth was intended for portable equipment and its applications. The category of applications is outlined as the wireless personal area network (WPAN). Bluetooth is a replacement for cabling in a variety of personally carried applications in any setting, and also works for fixed location applications such as smart energy functionality in the home (thermostats, etc.).

Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are to some extent complementary in their applications and usage. Wi-Fi is usually access point-centered, with an asymmetrical client-server connection with all traffic routed through the access point, while Bluetooth is usually symmetrical, between two Bluetooth devices. Bluetooth serves well in simple applications where two devices need to connect with minimal configuration like a button press, as in headsets and remote controls, while Wi-Fi suits better in applications where some degree of client configuration is possible and high speeds are required, especially for network access through an access node.


Does Bluetooth Still Matter?

Bluetooth is one of those background technologies no one pays attention to, until a device doesn't "pair" properly or it doesn't work. Then it can be a real annoyance.

Bluetooth is today used in 8.2 billion devices around the world from smartphones and laptops to speakers, beacons and cars. This is set to grow rapidly in the coming years as the Internet of Things (IoT) phenomenon kicks off, and everything from your light bulbs to your refrigerators are connected. Cisco has predicted there will be 50 billion of these smart devices in use by 2020, with SIG claiming up to one-third of them will feature Bluetooth.


What’s better in Bluetooth 5.0?

To put it simply: It will be able to send much more information, much further and faster.

The new standard claims it will be able to send data four times further than Bluetooth 4.0, which means up to 1,200 feet. It also promises to send that information twice as fast and the amount of information it can send is being increased 800 percent, according to SIG.


How will the new specification help?

Firstly, it will allow you to connect to devices such as speakers from much further away, but more importantly, because of the “richer set of information” that Bluetooth 5.0 allows devices to send, the pairing process, which is so clunky today, will be very much streamlined.

This will mean that setting up wireless accessories like keyboards, headphones and speakers will be a much more frictionless experience. Rather than needing to manually pair the devices, Bluetooth 5.0 is expected to be smart enough to automatically analyze what type of connection is needed and simply make it work.

Secondly, the technology will make it easier for warehouse managers to find stock items, while retailers will be able to show their location to customers without the need for a Wi-Fi or cellular connection — something that will be ideal for travelers who may not have any data connection. 


When Will Bluetooth 5.0 Be Available?

Bluetooth SIG says the protocol will be available in late 2016 or early 2017, meaning we are likely to see the first devices supporting the new standard sometime next year, though it could take longer for devices like smartphones to adopt the standard as they will need to make sure it works with a range of other components.


(Sourced from Wikipedia and World Wide Web)

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