Over the next year, we’re going to start seeing devices with Bluetooth connections that are faster and work over much longer ranges than what can currently be achieved. As hinted back in June, the updated spec is said to quadruple the range and double the speed of wireless connections over Bluetooth’s low-energy protocol, that is commonly used to connect things like wearables like fitness trackers and smartwatches, as well as smart home gadgets.
Compared to the current version of Bluetooth, the upgraded specs offers four times the range, twice the speed and 8 times the broadcast-message capacity, the Bluetooth SIG said in a press release. The longer range enables using Bluetooth-enabled devices anywhere in a home or other building. The higher speed allows the use of more responsive, and high-performance devices. The increased broadcast-message size increases the data sent, for the improved and more context-relevant uses.
Companies are now able to begin building, certifying devices that work with Bluetooth 5, the first round of which are expected to begin rolling out in the next two to six months and could include major products by the end of the year.
Bluetooth 5 also includes updates that help reduce potential interference with other wireless technologies to ensure Bluetooth devices can coexist within the increasingly complex global IoT environment. Bluetooth 5 delivers all of this while maintaining its low-energy functionality and flexibility for developers to meet the needs of their device or application’, says Bluetooth Special Interest Group.
One thing that isn’t included here is any specific improvement to audio. While better range here might help some wireless headphones stay connected from farther away, the SIG plans on moving the wireless audio protocol onto the new tech next year, which could help boost the adoption of ‘hearables,’ or headphones with the smart computing abilities, like Apple’s AirPods or Bragi’s Dash.