What is the best bluetooth version? See differences

Bluetooth: understand the versions and their differences

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Since its origins in the 90s, the Bluetooth wireless connection standard has evolved a lot. Understand the new features that arrived in each version

The connection Bluetooth, one of the pillars of wireless communication between devices, has become an integral part of our modern lives. From its initial conception to its contemporary evolution, the history of this technology is a testament to the innovations that have shaped our interconnected world. In this text, we will explore the journey of this type of connection, from its beginnings to the multiple variations that have emerged over the years.

How did Bluetooth come about?

Bluetooth: understand the versions and their differences. Since its origins in the 90s, the Bluetooth wireless connection standard has evolved a lot. Understand the new features that arrived in each version
Bluetooth is currently essential in a completely connected world. (Image: Nextpit)

The technology, widely used for short-range wireless communication between devices, has an interesting origin and a history that dates back to the late XNUMXth century. The development of Bluetooth was driven by a growing need to simplify and improve wireless connections between electronic devices such as cell phones, headphones, printers, keyboards and more.

The name Bluetooth has roots in Norse history. Harald “Bluetooth” Gormsson, a 1997th-century Viking king of Denmark, was famous for uniting Scandinavian tribes and kingdoms, much like technology unites electronic devices. The name was chosen in XNUMX by technology founders Jim Kardach and his colleagues at the telecommunications company Ericsson, as a codename for the project.

The initial development of this type of connection began in the 90s, when Ericsson began research to create a wireless alternative to the cables that were used to connect devices such as headphones, cell phones and computers. They were looking for a solution that was low cost, consumed little energy and was capable of connecting different types of devices.

The technology is based on short-range wireless communication using radio waves. The specification was finalized in 1999 by Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG), an organization that included companies such as Ericsson, Nokia, IBM and Toshiba. The first official version of Bluetooth, called 1.0, was released in the same year.

Bluetooth soon became a global standard for short-range wireless communication, allowing devices to connect effectively and quickly. Over time, it has evolved to offer faster data transfer speeds, greater range and better energy efficiency. Today, it is a fundamental part of many aspects of our lives, from portable devices like wireless headphones and smartwatches, to industrial and healthcare applications.

The different versions of Bluetooth

Bluetooth: understand the versions and their differences. Since its origins in the 90s, the Bluetooth wireless connection standard has evolved a lot. Understand the new features that arrived in each version
There are different versions of Bluetooth that have been launched throughout history, adapting to market needs. (Image: NurPhoto/Getty Images)

During the history of technology, great challenges and difficulties of each era were responsible for making technological progress a constant, and it is no different when it comes to wireless connections, such as Bluetooth. Next, we will learn a little more about each of these versions of the technology that emerged and what new features they brought.

Bluetooth 1.0: The first step

Bluetooth: understand the versions and their differences. Since its origins in the 90s, the Bluetooth wireless connection standard has evolved a lot. Understand the new features that arrived in each version
The Samsung SGH-E620 was one of the first cell phones that used the new Bluetooth technology. (Image: Disclosure/Samsung)

In the early 2000s, wireless connectivity started to become a necessity in the technology world. The wires connecting devices to computers and to each other were becoming increasingly inconvenient and limiting. It was in this context that the Bluetooth emerged and, over time, new versions of this technology were developed to solve the different problems and challenges that the context of each era offered to users.

Features of Bluetooth 1.0

The first version, known as Bluetooth 1.0, brought with it a series of features that paved the way for the wireless connectivity revolution:

  • Personal connectivity: 1.0 allowed devices to communicate at a distance of up to 10 meters, which was ideal for personal environments such as offices and homes.
  • data transfer rate: The initial version had a data transfer rate of approximately 1 Mbps, which at the time was sufficient for most applications such as small file transfers and wireless headphone connections.
  • Simple Pairing: 1.0 introduced the concept of pairing or pairing, making connection between devices easy and convenient. Users could connect devices with just a few clicks.
  • Basic security: Security in 1.0 was a concern from the beginning, with the introduction of basic authentication and encryption to protect communications.

Initial applications

The initial applications were essential for its adoption and popularization:

  • wireless headphones: Bluetooth headphones have become the pioneers in eliminating cumbersome wires. Users could listen to music and make phone calls without the need for cables.
  • Peripheral devices: Bluetooth-based wireless keyboards and mice have emerged, eliminating the need for physical connections to computers.
  • Synchronization of data: The new connection type allowed data synchronization between mobile devices and computers, simplifying the transfer of contacts, calendars and files.

Limitations and need for evolution

Despite its innovations, 1.0 also presented some limitations that needed to be overcome. Chief among them was data transfer speed, which became a bottleneck as file and media transfer demands increased. Additionally, battery life on Bluetooth devices was still a challenge to overcome.

These limitations drove the development of new versions, marking the beginning of a technological evolution that would continue to change the way we connect and interact with devices and systems in our daily lives.

Bluetooth 2.0 and 3.0: An increasingly wireless world

Bluetooth: understand the versions and their differences. Since its origins in the 90s, the Bluetooth wireless connection standard has evolved a lot. Understand the new features that arrived in each version
Advances in Bluetooth 2.0 and 3.0 allowed the emergence of wireless devices such as keyboards and mice, which are still used today. (Image: UnSplash/Michael Soledad)

As demands for wireless connectivity increased and the limitations of Bluetooth 1.0 became more apparent, the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) focused its efforts on developing subsequent versions that overcome these limitations. Versions 2.0 and 3.0 represented a significant leap in the evolution of this technology.

Bluetooth 2.0:

  • Higher data transfer speed: 2.0 introduced a significantly faster data transfer rate, reaching 3 Mbps. This enabled faster file transfers and support for more data-intensive applications.
  • Improved Simple Pairing: With 2.0, the pairing process has been simplified even further, making connecting between devices even more user-friendly.
  • Improved voice quality: 2.0 has improved the quality of voice calls on devices such as headsets and speaker systems, providing a clearer communication experience.

Bluetooth 3.0:

  • Bluetooth 3.0 + HS (High Speed): 3.0 brought a significant innovation, High-Speed ​​(HS) technology, which allowed even faster file transfers. HS technology utilized a Wi-Fi connection to transmit data at high speeds, while traditional Bluetooth continued to be used for low-energy tasks.
  • Coexistence with Wi-Fi: This version addressed the challenge of coexistence with Wi-Fi networks, reducing potential interference and ensuring a more stable connectivity experience, even in environments with multiple wireless networks.

Innovative applications

These improvements in Bluetooth have given rise to a number of innovative applications:

  • High-quality audio streaming: With the ability to transmit data faster, 2.0 enabled the development of headphones and audio systems that offered high-quality audio streaming, becoming popular with audiophiles and music enthusiasts.
  • Connections between mobile devices and computers: 2.0's faster data transfer capability enabled fast and efficient synchronization of smartphones and tablets with computers, making it easier to manage contacts, photos and files.
  • Advanced keyboards and mice: With 2.0 came more advanced wireless keyboards and mice suitable for professional use and productivity.

Continuous evolution

The evolution of 2.0 and 3.0 ushered in an era where wireless technology became faster, more efficient, and more versatile. These releases laid the groundwork for future innovations that would continue to shape the way we connect and interact with devices around the world. Improved data transfer capacity, simple pairing and improved audio quality have been key elements that have driven the growing adoption of Bluetooth across a wide range of applications and devices.

Bluetooth 4.0 and 4.1: BLE and the Internet of Things

Bluetooth: understand the versions and their differences. Since its origins in the 90s, the Bluetooth wireless connection standard has evolved a lot. Understand the new features that arrived in each version
The innovations of the fourth generation of Bluetooth were essential for the popularization of the term Internet of Things and Smart Homes that we see today. (Image: Frankboston/STOCK.ADOBE.COM)

With the increasing proliferation of mobile devices and the need for long-lasting connectivity, Bluetooth has undergone a new evolution in versions 4.0 and 4.1, bringing significant improvements in energy efficiency, opening doors for the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) and began operating through the concept of BLE.

Bluetooth 4.0: Energy efficiency

  • Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE): 4.0 introduced the concept of Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), Also known as Bluetooth Smart, which allowed devices to operate with significantly greater energy efficiency. This was critical for devices that needed to operate on small batteries, such as IoT sensors and wearable devices.
  • Long-lasting connectivity: The energy efficiency of 4.0 made long-lasting connectivity possible, with devices able to run for months or even years on a single battery. This was essential for health monitoring devices, activity tracking and environmental sensors.

Bluetooth 4.1: Connectivity Enhancements

  • Interoperability improvements: Version 4.1 brought improvements in interoperability between devices, making it easier to connect and communicate between different types of Bluetooth devices.
  • Dual connection switching: 4.1 introduced the ability to switch between two simultaneous connections. This was useful for devices that needed to connect to two accessories, like headphones and smart watches, at the same time.

Internet of Things (IoT) applications

  • Health and wellness sensors: 4.0 and 4.1 played a key role in the development of health and wellness sensors, allowing continuous monitoring of data such as heart rate, glucose levels and sleep quality.
  • Wearable devices: Wearable devices such as smart watches and activity bands have taken advantage of 4.0's energy efficiency to provide real-time monitoring functionality without compromising battery life.
  • Smart Homes: Versions 4.0 and 4.1 made it possible to connect home devices such as thermostats, lamps and appliances, making remote control and automation possible.

Impact and legacy in the technology market

The energy efficiency of 4.0 and 4.1 has played a key role in the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) and the development of smart devices. These versions laid the foundation for creating a low-power, high-efficiency connectivity ecosystem that has transformed the way we interact with the world around us, making it smarter, more connected and more convenient. With the increasing adoption of these technologies, Bluetooth has continued to evolve and adapt to the growing demands of modern society.

Bluetooth 4.2 and 5.0: More range and more speed

Bluetooth: understand the versions and their differences. Since its origins in the 90s, the Bluetooth wireless connection standard has evolved a lot. Understand the new features that arrived in each version
Evolution in connectivity has allowed the emergence of technologies such as virtual reality. (Image: Reproduction/HTC)

As wireless connectivity has become more ubiquitous in our lives, Bluetooth has undergone another phase of evolution in versions 4.2 and 5.0, bringing substantial improvements in range, data transfer speed, and connection quality.

Bluetooth 4.2: More Speed ​​and Security

  • Improved speed: Version 4.2 brought faster data transfer speed, making file sharing and streaming content such as music and videos more efficient.
  • Greater security: With a focus on security, 4.2 has improved privacy and encryption features, making Bluetooth connections more secure and protected against threats.

Bluetooth 5.0: Greater Range and Transfer Speed

  • greater reach: One of the most notable changes in 5.0 was the increase in range. The technology allowed a distance of up to 40 meters between devices, making it ideal for applications in larger environments.
  • Even greater speed: 5.0 took data transfer speeds to 2 Mbps, providing a faster and more efficient experience, especially for devices that require high-quality streaming.
  • High fidelity audio: With 5.0, support for high-fidelity audio (High-Fidelity Audio) has become more common, providing a superior sound experience on wireless headphones and speakers.

Advanced Applications

  • Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR): 5.0's faster data transfer capacity and greater bandwidth have enabled significant advances in virtual and augmented reality, improving the immersive experience in VR and AR games and applications.
  • High-quality audio devices: Wireless headphones and speakers have taken advantage of 5.0's enhanced capabilities to deliver high-quality audio rivaling wired connections.

Connection with the future

Versions 4.2 and 5.0 represented a step forward in Bluetooth's ability to support a variety of advanced devices and applications. Improved data transfer speeds and expanded range have opened up new possibilities for wireless technology in areas such as entertainment, gaming and communications. With 5.0, Bluetooth continued to play a vital role in how we interact with our devices and advance emerging technologies, setting the stage for even more advanced connectivity in the future.

Bluetooth 5.1 to 5.4: the State of the Art and future perspectives

Bluetooth: understand the versions and their differences. Since its origins in the 90s, the Bluetooth wireless connection standard has evolved a lot. Understand the new features that arrived in each version
More reliable and improved, Bluetooth is a technology that is increasingly advancing. (Image: Lenovo)

Versions 5.1, 5.2, 5.3 and 5.4 represented an even more advanced phase of evolution, introducing features that improved location accuracy, connectivity and security, making Bluetooth even more versatile and effective in a variety of scenarios. With a greater need for connectivity, there are more frequent updates with small additions to always keep the technology ready for the latest technology on the market.

Bluetooth 5.1: Improved location accuracy

  • Signal tracking: One of the most notable features of 5.1 was the introduction of signal tracking, allowing devices to determine each other's relative location with high accuracy. This has opened doors for applications such as indoor navigation, asset tracking and indoor location.
  • Signaling direction: 5.1 also allowed devices to determine the direction a signal was coming from, improving device tracking and targeting capabilities.

Bluetooth 5.2: Connectivity Enhancements

  • Improvements in connectivity and interoperability: 5.2 brought further improvements in connectivity and interoperability, ensuring more reliable and stable connections between Bluetooth devices.
  • Improved coexistence with Wi-Fi: As Wi-Fi networks have continued to expand, 5.2 has further addressed coexistence with these networks, ensuring that both operate harmoniously in disruptive environments.

Bluetooth 5.3: Improvements for the Internet of Things

  • Improved protection: With 5.3, a device can now set the minimum cryptographic key size required to ensure secure establishment of a connection.
  • Improved consistency: 5.3 fragments the connection frequency range into several channels, allowing exclusive use of those that are not overloaded, thus ensuring more stable transmissions.

Bluetooth 5.4: More reliability

  • Introduction of PAwR: This new feature, called Periodic Advertising with Response, structures the data that signals the availability of a device for connection into packets sent at regular intervals to provide greater connection reliability.
  • ESL Compatibility: 5.4 supports technologies such as ESL (Electronic Shelf Label), which encompasses electronic labels used on shelves. Therefore, a single device can transmit prices to electronic tags located in the aisles of a supermarket and at the same time receive information from them, such as details about products that need to be restocked.

What is the best version of Bluetooth?

After everything presented in the previous sections, it is easy to determine that the best version of Bluetooth will always be the one that came out most recently, that is, currently Bluetooth 5.4. The future of the technology is promising, and as newer versions like Bluetooth 5.4 continue to improve connectivity, energy efficiency, and security while adding new features, Bluetooth is well positioned to play a central role in advancing technology. emerging technologies.

FactorsBluetooth 1Bluetooth 2Bluetooth 3Bluetooth 4Bluetooth 5
Speed732,2 kb/s up to 1 Mbps2.1 Mbps24 Mbps1 Mbps (BLE)

25 Mbps
2 Mbps (BLE)

50 Mbps
Scope10 meters30 meters30 meters60 meters240 meters
Compatibility-Okay for any phone, but expect possible sound sync issuesOk for any phoneGood for any phone, but ideal for models with the same Bluetooth versionGood for any phone, but ideal for newer phone models
power requirementAltoAltoAltoMedium-HighLow
(Table: Headphonesty/Adapted)

Integration with voice assistants, expanding location accuracy, and developing smart device ecosystems will contribute to more convenient and effective connectivity in all aspects of our everyday lives. With a solid foundation and a history of continuous evolution, Bluetooth will continue to play a vital role in the way we connect and interact with the world around us.

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Source: with the BBC, infowester

reviewed by Glaucon Vital in 30 / 10 / 23.

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