Bluetooth 5 promises major speed, range, and IoT improvements for next-gen accessories

Bluetooth 5 promises major speed, range, and IoT improvements for next-gen accessories
Bluetooth is one of those smartphone features that's been around for so very long, and is nothing short of ubiquitous on modern handsets, that it's easy to take for granted. And while the protocol's become a bit of an underrated workhorse, we continue to see Bluetooth evolve over the years, picking up high-quality audio support and a low-energy mode that drastically extended accessory battery life as a couple stand-out examples. Last week we got word that Bluetooth's next chapter was right around the corner, with news that Bluetooth 5 was just about to introduce expanded beacon support, higher speeds, and a significantly improved range. Today this next-gen Bluetooth standard gets its official announcement.

Just as promised, Bluetooth 5 is designed to greatly improve data speeds and effective range of operation. Compared to the existing Bluetooth 4.2, Bluetooth 5 should offer users four times the range, as well as double the connection speeds for their mobile accessories.


Those are both pretty easy-to-grasp improvements: we're taking the Bluetooth we have now, and making it faster and longer-range. But another big change for Bluetooth 5 concerns a use case that few of us jump to when thinking about Bluetooth, as the new version will improve broadcast capacity for what are known as “connectionless” Bluetooth devices – things like stationary beacons that provide information on businesses or attractions in the immediate vicinity. With Bluetooth 5, those broadcasts will be able to transfer eight times the data they can now.

That ability to deliver so much more data is envisioned as helping to finally jump-start deployment of such Bluetooth beacons. And with potential use cases ranging from navigation to inventory control, there are plenty of industries that could be interested in embracing the tech.

The full Bluetooth 5 standard will be released either late this year or in the early months of 2017. Devices supporting the protocol will presumably follow later still, but right now it's far too early to guess at anything in terms of an ETA. That said, we'll be keeping an eye out at upcoming trade shows for our first glimpses at hardware ready to take advantage of all these Bluetooth 5 improvements.

source: Bluetooth SIG

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8 Comments

1. Mreveryphone

Posts: 1821; Member since: Apr 22, 2014

Bluetooth VR...

2. Ordinary

Posts: 2454; Member since: Apr 23, 2015

Well took them long enough to increase those speeds

3. zunaidahmed

Posts: 1183; Member since: Dec 24, 2011

We need speeeeeeeeed, range is alright because we don't use Bluetooth far away anyway, we have wifi and 2.4 GHz wireless protocol for that, make Bluetooth do 200-400Mbps (around 40-50MB/s) and I would never use a USB cable for syncing my phone with my laptop, or at least until USB 3.1 become a mainstream for phones.

4. fiji.siv

Posts: 95; Member since: Nov 25, 2015

What does improved range and speed do to the battery?

5. jeroome86

Posts: 2314; Member since: Apr 12, 2012

We need for it to work without going into settings all the time. Fast toggle is useless. Connect already. Maybe it's time for Bluetooth to be replaced.

6. MrElectrifyer

Posts: 3960; Member since: Oct 21, 2014

"We need for it to work without going into settings all the time. Fast toggle is useless. Connect already." That's only a problem on iOS, when my Surface Pro's or OnePlus One's Bluetooth is enabled, they automatically attempt connecting to paired hands-free (my vehicle) and/or music devices (my Bluetooth headset).

8. tomn1ce

Posts: 247; Member since: Mar 12, 2012

I use Widgetsoid, and all I have to do is click on the Bluetooth toggle and it turns on and the phone connects to the bluetooth device that is paired to it. On that same widget I have a toggle for wifi, Mute (phone), hotspot, vibrate, screen brightness and speaker. No need to go into settings or scroll down notification bar.

7. Shadocx4

Posts: 134; Member since: Oct 20, 2014

What does improved range and speed does to users' health?

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