Bluetooth for long has been the well-known wireless technology that is used today in almost all electronic devices. Almost every year there are more and more modernized versions of this technology, its development does not stand still. Despite this, with the increasing demand for devices based on IoT, the user wants to get newer and more advanced Bluetooth features.
The new Bluetooth 5 provides users with the best call quality. Bluetooth 5 has significantly improved performance and functionality.
In this article, we will compare Bluetooth 5 with Bluetooth 4.2, write out all significant changes and innovations, reveal all the main characteristics of Bluetooth 5, which has become famous thanks to IoT and Bluetooth Beacon. Bluetooth 5 is the latest Bluetooth specification, which is the successor to Bluetooth 4.2.
Bluetooth is supported by Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG), a company that includes more than 30,000 member companies in the field of telecommunications, computing, networks and consumer electronics. IEEE standardized Bluetooth as IEEE 802.15.1. Bluetooth SIG controls technology development, manages qualification program and protects trademarks. The manufacturer must comply with Bluetooth SIG standards in order to sell it as a Bluetooth device. This technology is covered by a network of patents that are licensed to individual relevant devices.
Bluetooth was developed as a replacement for the RS-232 cable and was created in 1994.
In April 2017, security researchers discovered several exploits in Bluetooth software on various platforms, including Microsoft Windows, Linux, Apple iOS, and Google Android. These vulnerabilities are collectively called «BlueBorne». Exploits allow an attacker to connect to devices or systems without authentication and to get «almost complete control over the device». The research center contacted the developers of Google, Microsoft, Apple, Samsung and Linux so that they could fix their software before the agreed announcement of vulnerabilities.
Developers have provided Bluetooth 5 high privacy and security. Earlier we wrote about key benefits of security token offering. Bluetooth creates the foundation for the future; it revolutionizes people’s perception of IoT. The new version of this technology has such advantages as low power consumption, inexpensive hardware and small implementations.
Bluetooth 5.0 is the extension to Low Energy LE. Its speed is 48 Mbit/s (twice as much as in the previous version). It can be connected up to 300 meters or 985 feet (4 times longer than the latest version). The ISM range is 2.4-2.485 GHz. It is a bit disappointing for users that it does not have backward compatibility with its old or previous versions. This requires new equipment that must be modern and advanced so that the devices meet the requirements of Bluetooth v5.0 for its smooth operation.
Bluetooth 5 speed is faster than Bluetooth 4. 2 with 2 Mbps format, which is twice the speed of Bluetooth 4, about 1 Mbps, which allows Bluetooth 5 to meet one of the IoT requirements. This is all due to the bandwidth of 5 Mbps Bluetooth 5 compared to 2.1 Mbps Bluetooth 4. Support for IoT Bluetooth 5 devices easily meets the requirements of various IoT devices with good range and high data transfer speeds, while Bluetooth 4 cannot satisfy all device requirements due to its low speed and low operating range. This means that IoT devices will work well with Bluetooth 5 and use all its functions correctly.
Bluetooth 4 compatibility works best with devices compatible with version 4 of the series, but will not work with devices that have Bluetooth 5, while Bluetooth 5 compiles with v1, v2, v3, v4, v4.1 and version 4.2, but despite this, all Bluetooth 5 features will not be used.
Bluetooth 4 actively operates within a radius of 50 meters in open space and within a radius of 10 meters indoors, which makes it not very convenient, while Bluetooth 5 actively operates within a radius of 200 meters in open space and within a radius of 40 meters indoors.
Increasing the radius of active work will make it possible, for example, to use wireless headphones away from the phone, for example, while running in a stadium. You can safely leave the phone in the locker room and it will not bother you while running.
For the organization of the Internet of things is particularly important increased range. If the apartments somehow had enough of the old versions of Bluetooth, then in a big house you had to make compromises. Now you can easily put some element of IoT into the yard, away from the rest.
Bluetooth 5 Beacon has become more popular due to increased range and speed, while Bluetooth 4 Beacon has become less popular due to lower speed and range, as well as due to the low message capacity of 31 bytes.
Bluetooth 5 has a large capacity for messages – about 255 bytes, which gives more space for the actual data load, while Bluetooth 4 has a small message capacity – about 31 bytes, which gives from 17 to 20 bytes for the real data load.
And now on an example I will tell wherewith such improvement is remarkable. Suppose you come to a hospital that uses the Internet of Things. With version 4.2, having entered a hospital, a person could receive via Bluetooth only data about which office he needed, this version is not suitable for obtaining more information. If a person went to the hospital with version 5, in addition to information about the office, he would also receive information about the doctor, necessary certificates, waiting time and telephone number of the head doctor, but all because this technology already has not 31 Bytes, but 255.
Bluetooth 5 was specifically designed to consume a small amount of power on the device compared to Bluetooth 4. This means that you can keep your Bluetooth turned on for a longer period of time and use it much more actively compared to Bluetooth 4 that consumes more energy than its new counterpart.
Bluetooth 5 works much more reliably in an overloaded environment than Bluetooth 4.2. This is due to the fact that the new version was created taking into account the fact that important processes involving Bluetooth most often occur in an overloaded environment, which negatively affects its operation.
Bluetooth 5 consumes several times less power from the battery than its predecessor. For phones with a 3000 mAh battery capacity, Bluetooth 4.2 was not a problem, but for smartwatches the opposite. Thanks to the redesigned power consumption system in Bluetooth 5, most smartwatches will increase their battery life.
The data transfer speed between Bluetooth 5 and Bluetooth 4.2 differs by a factor of 2 — if version 4.2 has a transfer speed of 3.125 MB/s, then version 5 has 6.25 MB/s. This indicates that the very concept of technology has been greatly improved. In any case, this is not comparable to wired competitors, for example, Apple Lightning, where the data transfer rate reaches 60 MB/s.
In any case, due to the increased speed of data transmission in the new version, the speed of synchronization of the smartwatch with the smartphone, elements of the Internet of things with each other and with the base, the interaction between the computer and wireless or peripheral devices will automatically increase.
Scaling the Internet of Things will be easier thanks to the new serial connection system. Previously, each device was connected to a common base, and now it will be enough to connect to the neighboring element.
Maybe sometime we will see the city IoT system not within an apartment or house, but a whole district or even a city? And it will be based on an energy efficient and easily scalable enhancement of Bluetooth 5.
It should be noted that the introduction of Bluetooth 5 in the «beacons» will significantly improve their work, because in the new version the capacity of messages is increased. The beacons use Bluetooth because of its ability to transmit information to undefined recipients without establishing a connection.
All Bluetooth enhancements are related to the Bluetooth Low Energy specification, which was first used in Bluetooth 4.0, and not to the usual Bluetooth radio, which consumes a large amount of energy in its work. Bluetooth Low Energy technology was originally created to reduce the power consumption of Bluetooth peripherals. It was originally used for storages, beacons and other low-power devices, but had some serious limitations.
For example, any wireless headphones did not have the ability to exchange messages via Bluetooth Low Energy, because of which they had to learn a much more powerful Bluetooth voice standard. With Bluetooth 5.0, all audio devices share data via Bluetooth Low Energy, which provides reduced power consumption and longer battery life.
This is weird, but Apple’s AirPods do not use Bluetooth 5.0. Their work is based on Bluetooth 4.2 and a specially designed Apple W1 chip, which improves the connection between devices.
It is worth mentioning the new feature Bluetooth 5, which makes it possible to recreate the sound on two connected devices at the same time. It can be headphones, speakers, televisions – it does not matter, these devices will still be connected to the same «command» center.
And one more important «but». Each device independently chooses what is more important to it – increased information transfer speed or increased distance at which devices can interact.
So we see that Bluetooth 5 is far superior to its predecessor Bluetooth 4.2. It greatly improves the performance of all devices that interact using Bluetooth 5. All specifications are increased several times, which has a positive effect on its popularity. The new version provides many benefits that can not be overlooked.
In general, the development company did a great job on the improvements.