Published in Mobiles

Bluetooth gets better

by on13 November 2015

Longer ranges

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) has announced a roadmap for the future of the low-level intra-device protocol.

The changes could mean speed and range increases likely to signal significant new possibilities for its role in the Internet of Things (IoT).

According to the official Bluetooth site, Bluetooth Smart, a low energy subset of the protocol aimed at facilitating networks for personal health devices, entertainment systems and other domestic networks, will see a fourfold increase.

This will offer stronger connection that can span an entire household and outside environs, whilst also offering a 100 per cent speed increase. These improvements are to come at no extra penalty of energy consumption.

The upgrades will help Bluetooth’s form mesh networks, how is not clear yet.
SIG’s executive director Mark Powell said that the the Bluetooth technology roadmap is a powerful expression of SIG’s mission to continue as a catalyst for industry innovation.

“Bluetooth has been adopted by countless developers and manufacturers as their connectivity solution of choice for the IoT. The new functionality we will soon be adding will further solidify Bluetooth as the backbone of IoT technology.”

Toby Nixon, chairman of the Bluetooth SIG Board of Directors added that Bluetooth has been under pressure from industry for a long time to offer performance improvements of this nature, noting that the planned technical updates will “help make these expectations a reality and accelerate growth in IoT” in 2016.

Bluetooth’s limited range has to date almost presented itself as a security feature rather than a hindrance, most especially in regard to wearables which use it to communicate with more robust devices such as smartphones and laptops.

With an effective range of only a few metres, potential attackers have very little opportunity to intervene in signal exchanges. However, it can be done, at least in theory.

Presumably an increase in range has inverse security implications which will need to be addressed by developers accustomed to relying on a paltry signal length as a safeguard.

Last modified on 13 November 2015
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