Bluetooth SIG announces IoT-focused Bluetooth 5
June 17, 2016 | 11:32
The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) has announced that the next generation of its eponymous wireless communications standard, Bluetooth 5, will bring a four-fold increase in range and a doubling of throughput.
While typically used for low-bandwidth, short-range communication between devices like smartphones, headsets, and mice, the burgeoning Internet of Things (IoT) market has the Bluetooth SIG looking to beef the standard up to increase its appeal. Accordingly, Bluetooth 5 is claimed to include quadrupled range, double the throughput, and an eight-fold boost to the standard's capacity for connectionless data broadcasts - the latter being of particular interest to those deploying smart beacons and IoT technologies.
'Bluetooth 5 will transform the way people experience the IoT by making it something that happens simply and seamlessly around them,' claimed Mark Powell, executive director at the Bluetooth SIG, of the impending launch. 'Increasing operation range will enable connections to IoT devices that extend far beyond the walls of a typical home, while increasing speed supports faster data transfers and software updates for devices. And now with the ability to broadcast a much richer set of information, Bluetooth 5 will make beacons, location awareness, and other connectionless services an even more relevant part of an effortless and seamless IoT experience.'
Bluetooth 5 is scheduled to launch commercially by late this year or early 2017, though it may take longer than that for the standard to appear in retail devices. The Bluetooth SIG has not indicated whether Bluetooth 5 will be applicable to existing Bluetooth radio modules via a firmware update or will require entirely new hardware.