Bluetooth has long been the go-to wireless spec for connecting gadgets over short ranges. It’s what you use to connect a smartwatch, fitness tracker, speaker, or wireless headphones to a smartphone. It can connect a mouse or keyboard to a laptop or tablet.
But the folks behind the Bluetooth specification are eyeing the smart home and Internet of Things space with the latest version of the standard.
Bluetooth 5 launches today, and it supports faster speeds, longer ranges, and the ability to transfer more data in a message.
The Bluetooth Special Interest Group says the new standard offers:
- Up to 4 times the range of Bluetooth 4.2 with low energy
- Up to 2 times the speed
- Up to 8 times the broadcast message capacity
- Reduced interference from other wireless signals
In other words, you should be able to use Bluetooth to connect devices throughout your home instead and transfer data between devices at speeds up to 2 Mbps.
Of course, Bluetooth isn’t the only game in town. There are a growing number of wireless devices that communicate with one another using other technologies such as WiFi, ZigBee, Z-Wave or other protocols. But Bluetooth has a head start over some of those standards, and lower energy consumption than others, which gives Bluetooth 5 a pretty good shot at becoming as common in smart home products as it already is for wireless headphones and speakers.