New ‘Bluetooth 5’ Wireless Standard Means Faster, Longer-Range Connections

New 'Bluetooth 5' Wireless Standard Means Faster, Longer-Range Connections
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The organization that oversees Bluetooth standards officially adopted a new version of the wireless technology this week — and, for users, it could mean faster speeds, longer ranges and an increased focus on Internet of Things devices.

The new standard, Bluetooth 5, boasts double the speed, four times the range and eight times the broadcast message capacity as the previous version, according to the Bluetooth Special Interest Group’s (SIG) official announcement.

The speed improvements mean that higher-performance devices can be connected using the short-distance wireless technology. The increased range means that devices throughout a home can be paired much more easily and reliably — and you can worry less about the music cutting out when your phone strays from your Bluetooth speaker. The bump in broadcast message size means more data can be sent over the wireless standard, which could lead to “improved and more context relevant solutions,” the standards organization wrote.

With the increasingly strong focus on connected homes and IoT devices comes a handful of updates meant to reduce Bluetooth interference with other wireless communications. That means devices with Bluetooth 5 will play nicer with other wireless tech, and will better coexist in increasingly connected and complex IoT networks. Yet, even with all of these updates, Bluetooth still maintains low-power requirements — making it ideal for the battery-operated gadgets in your life.

On the other hand, audio connectivity seems to have gotten less attention in the new update. Which is a bit surprising when you consider the fact that smartphone companies are increasingly trying to push the adoption of wireless headphones, as TechCrunch’s Brian Heater points out.

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group approved and codified Bluetooth 5 this week. Consumers can expect to see the new standard show up in devices in around two to six months, the organization said.


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