Bluetooth: understand the types and different versions of this technology

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In this article, we will help you understand what technology is, how it came about, its different versions and why it is important for you to know all this. Follow up!

What is Bluetooth technology?

Bluetooth is a wireless connection technology that allows us to transmit data and files through our cell phone, notebook, speaker, mouse, keyboard, etc. 

The system uses shortwave radio frequencies, which have a low range and one more advantage: it consumes little energy. For the connection to work perfectly, you must respect the specific distance, according to the Bluetooth classes, which are:

 

  • Class 1: It has a maximum power of 100 mW (20 dBm) and a maximum range of 100 meters;
  • Class 2: It has a maximum power of 2.5 mW (4 dBm) and has a range of up to 10 meters;
  • Class 3: It reaches a power of 1 mW (0 dBm), with a range of 1 meter. 

 

The speed of transmission of information varies according to the version and compatibility of the equipment. Soon, we will explain how each version works. 

How was Bluetooth born?

Bluetooth was born from the need of a Dutch engineer to solve a problem: connecting two devices, in a short distance, without cables. The technology began to be developed in 1994 by Jaap Haartsen. 

The engineer managed the project alone for a while, but in 1998, he gained the support of several companies, such as Nokia, Intel, and Toshiba, and thus, the Bluetooth SIG was born. The support of these companies was essential for the technology to get off the ground and gain the proportion and importance it has today. 

After the development, starting in 1999, the first specifications of the technology were made available to companies, so that they could develop their products. It was in the 2000s that consumers started to find Bluetooth devices on the market. 

But, how did the name Bluetooth come about?

The name came about after Haartsen’s Swedish friends told him a story of a Norse king, who was known for uniting Norway and Denmark, in the same way that Bluetooth unites devices. 

This king was called Harald Bluetooth and he lived around 950 AD The logo has the letter H (from Harald) and the letter B (from the runic alphabet). The symbol came about through a marketing suggestion from the consortium of companies that developed the technology and knew the history of the Viking king. 

Understand the different versions of Bluetooth

Since its creation, Bluetooth has gone through several versions, until the one we have today, which is 5.0. 

1. Bluetooth 1.0

The first version was created in 1994 and had a frequency of 721 kbps. In the beginning, it was very functional, but as other technologies emerged, this version became outdated. A year later, variation 1.1 came into existence. 

2. Bluetooth 2.0

This version came with several improvements and was much faster, having 3 Mb/s and consuming less energy. In 2004, Bluetooth came with the Enhanced Data Rate (EDR) standard, which allowed tripling the data transfer.

3. Bluetooth 3.0

In 2009, Bluetooth 3.0 arrived. In addition to being more secure, it still had much higher rates of data transfer speed. Consumers who had compatible equipment had access to 24 Mb/s transfer. Developers also continued to invest in smarter control of energy consumption. 

4. Bluetooth 4.0

Also released in 2009, the main difference of this version was the focus on requiring less energy from the equipment when the device is idle. With the decrease in data to be transmitted, the technology is in a kind of sleep mode, which makes it help to conserve the battery of the phone, watch, or other electronics. 

5. Bluetooth 5.0

Version 5.0 is the most revolutionary. It brought much more features than the others, such as: 

  • Allows devices to communicate more than 40 meters away;
  • Support for more devices to be connected at the same time;
  • Greater security and reduced risk of interference via Wi-Fi;
  • Facilitates the geolocation of equipment;
  • Greater control over energy consumption. 

All this came to facilitate and meet the demands of the internet of things, which depends on multiple devices connected at the same time.

6. Bluetooth LE

This version is very similar to 4.0, which prioritizes low power consumption. Called Bluetooth Low Energy, it is widely used in smartwatches, smart bracelets, portable medical accessories, and other gadgets. This is because these electronics have low-capacity batteries, which depend on the best possible use of energy. 

The future of Bluetooth

Currently, companies have been working with Bluetooth 5.1. There are already studies and projects for a new version, but they must keep pace with the others: investment in lower energy consumption and improved safety. 

Why is it important to know the difference between versions when buying cell phones or accessories?

It is important that you know all generations, due to the compatibility of the equipment you have. That’s because, you will only be able to use all the features of a certain version, if you have a cell phone, computer or another device, with a compatible version. 

You won’t find devices that have some kind of lock or lock, because they have different versions of Bluetooth. What will happen is that the information transfer rate will be lower. In short: there’s no point in your cell phone having Bluetooth 5.0, if your headphones are on a previous version. 

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