Bluetooth technology is nothing new but it has always had its limitations such as range and battery usage, but with the latest generation of Bluetooth, called Bluetooth 5.0. some of these limitations can be greatly reduced, if not eliminated.
Bluetooth 5.0 was first announced in mid-2016 to the delight of headphone, speakers, and similar accessory manufacturers. As the latest generation of Bluetooth it’s obviously an improvement over older models but exact improvements are still widely misunderstood. Let’s dive into what the buzz around Bluetooth 5.0 is and what it matters in headphones:
Increased Bandwidth for Bluetooth Technology with Low Energy
Bluetooth 5.0 introduces a new capability to increase the bandwidth to 2 Mbps, which doubles the amount of data that devices can transfer. As a result the time it takes to transfer data is reduced and you have less lag times to deal with.
Increasing Functionality for the Internet of Things (IoT)
At a high level this is seen in how Bluetooth 5.0 interacts on broadcast channels. Advertising extensions allow more efficient use of broadcasting channels on the increasingly crowded 2.4 GHz band, which enable richer connectionless. Additionally, slot availability masks can detect and prevent interference on neighboring bands to improve coexistence in a global environment. Point being, Bluetooth 5.0 plays better with connected devices.
Faster and Longer Range
For far too long the typical Bluetooth range has been between 33 and 66 feet, which doesn’t get you very far. But Bluetooth 5.0 bumps that number up giving you 4 times that of version 4.2. Essentially this means you can pair your smartphone with your speakers and use them within a vastly increased 40 foot or more range. Bluetooth 5.0 also offers a faster connection so there’s less time waiting for your devices to pair.
In the official press release, it was stated that Bluetooth 5.0 increases “the capacity of connectionless data broadcasts by 800 percent”. When it comes to sound quality this translates to a major improvement. The logic behind it is that if this new Bluetooth can hold and transmit more data, it should be able to preserve sound far better when it leaves the broadcast device.
Breaking It All Down
Pushing the technical talk away for a moment, what Bluetooth 5.0 promises is a longer connection range and improved sound quality – two areas Bluetooth or wireless speakers have had issues with in the past. The need to keep your paired device with you is decreased as you have the freedom to wander 40 feet from it and still get excellent sound.
The better sound quality aspect is something we are just seeing manufacturers introduce but early prototypes make the case that new wireless headphones with Bluetooth 5.0 will come close to rivaling wired headphones, which up until now they have so greatly lagged behind.
As a new technology engineers are still working out some kinks in the system but once Bluetooth 5.0 becomes the new standard for wireless headphones, it’s going to be hard to find a good reason not to go the wireless route.