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Bluetooth 5: Faster, With Further Reach

Bluetooth is one of those networking technologies we usually just take for granted. Oh, you want to hook up to that speaker over there? Switch on Bluetooth. Want to upload files from a phone to a computer without a cord? Sure, Bluetooth can do that too.

Bluetooth has been around since 1998, celebrating its 20th anniversary last year with a new version update – to Bluetooth 5.

Today’s article takes you through what the latest version of Bluetooth could mean for your devices, and whether you might consider purchasing new devices with this updated standard.

Side note: There’s also updates to the latest Wi-Fi standard – check out our article to learn all about Wi-Fi 6!

Make it go faster

As we generally see with any networking technology full standard update, the new version of Bluetooth makes data transfer considerably faster than its predecessor, Bluetooth 4. Devices built to Bluetooth 5 standards allow a transfer speed of twice as fast as those that are classified Bluetooth 4.

This is particularly of note if you are transferring a lot of data from devices to your central systems via Bluetooth. If you plan on building a smart office with a large variety of IoT devices connected via Bluetooth, with close to real-time feedback necessary, then this is a pretty nifty feature.

Make it go further

One of the key frustrations that we hear people talk about when it comes to Bluetooth for use as a networking technology are the limitations in range. However, this is really restricted to older versions of Bluetooth.

If we’re talking Bluetooth 4 Low Energy (LE), the range (in optimal conditions) could stretch as far as 350 metres.

With Bluetooth 5, in optimal conditions, this range can be quadrupled.

Barriers to max range remain, such as metal structures, walls, furniture, etc., however this is exciting news for the coming onslaught of IoT devices in the office – we will be able to do much more with less mains-powered connection points.

Increased broadcasting capabilities

Bluetooth 5 offers 8 times the broadcast capacity of Bluetooth 4. What this may come in handy for is an increasingly busy networked environment, where many Bluetooth devices are saying “hey, I’m here!”

As the number of devices goes up, we need this increase in broadcast capacity for Bluetooth devices to function efficiently.

Yes, it’s still low energy

The beauty of Bluetooth as a networking technology is its low energy consumption. Whereas Wi-Fi enabled devices need a large battery or mains power to operate, Bluetooth can get by on just a small amount of energy.

The energy levels required by Bluetooth 5 technology are the same as Bluetooth 4. Just because devices now provide faster data throughput or longer range does not mean bigger batteries are needed to do the job. Bluetooth 5 IoT devices will remain as small as their manufacturer determines they need to be, with a battery that they deem necessary.

Do be aware that purchasing cheap or untested IoT devices may lead to frustrations surrounding battery replacement time. Just because the Bluetooth LE is a component doesn’t mean the device overall is efficient with energy. Choosing a trusted manufacturer is generally the way to go if you want to get a good product!

Should I go with Bluetooth 5 devices in my office or at home?

Absolutely! If you have the option of purchasing a Bluetooth 5 device over a Bluetooth 4 device at a similar cost, it’s always better to go with the updated version. Bluetooth 5 has a lot of advantages over its predecessor, and choosing a device stamped with this capability can help in ensuring the device itself is valuable to your business (or in your personal life) for a longer time span.

This is particularly the case with the new wave of IoT devices, and also handy for mobile use, depending on your use of Bluetooth in the home or office – or intended use that you’re not yet taking advantage of…

If you’d like to know how to take more advantage of Bluetooth 5, or Bluetooth in general, then make sure to get in contact with us at A1 Technologies. We know networking and how each new technology and standard can help your business!

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