Bluetooth Version and Compatibility

What’s with the funny name, “Bluetooth?”

Following the September 1998 introduction of Bluetooth by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG), several versions of the specification as well as enhancements have been released.

Currently, the Bluetooth SIG is responsible for promoting the technology and supporting further research and development. The first “Bluetooth” was named as a code name, but the name stuck as time went by and developers eventually chose it as the name of the new wireless technology.

The word “Bluetooth”, chosen by SIG, originated from a 10th century Danish chronicle and got its name after the then King Harald Bluetooth. King Bluetooth played an important role in the unification of Scandinavian Europe during a time when warring clans were tearing the region apart.

Bluetooth SIG is a fitting name the founders came up with because:

A technology first developed in Scandinavia, Bluetooth

Different industries are united through Bluetooth technology, which include: cell phones, computing, and automotive markets. Bluetooth technology combines several types of wireless communication into one, globally available radio frequency that is secure, low-power, and inexpensive.

All versions up to and including Bluetooth Specification Version 1.1

Bluetooth device manufacturers were unable to develop devices, because Versions 1.0 and 1.0B of the specification had too many problems and constraints. The lack of interoperability is the main issue among the devices.

The first completely successful operating Bluetooth was the Bluetooth Core Specification version 1.1. Many of the initial problems were addressed early on with Bluetooth 1.1. Because of this Bluetooth 1.1 devices are much easier to operate.

Bluetooth specification version 1.2

Similar to the latest cell phone, Most of the newer Bluetooth are sold with the current Bluetooth specification.  What are the added benefits and new feature of Bluetooth 1.2?

Bluetooth 1.1 is backward compatible

Reducing the radio interface by eliminating the use of crowded frequencies in the hopping sequence is the definition of Adaptive Frequency Hopping

Increased data transfer rates (1 Mbps).

Extended Synchronous Connections Oriented links – enhanced voice and audio quality by retransmitting bad packets due to data corruption.

Strength Indicator of Received Signal

Boasts HCI (Host Controller Interface) support for 3-wire UART (Universal Asynchronous Receiver/Transmitter)

Bluetooth timing information applications are accessible through HCI (Host Controller Interface).

Version 2.0 of Bluetooth: EDR (Enhanced Data Rate)

There are many types of technologies to facilitate communication, but the one thing they all have in common is that they vie to be the fastest. The speed limited in Bluetooth version 1.2 has been identified by the Bluetooth SIG. In June 2004, the version 2.0 + EDR was revealed by the Bluetooth SIG and began available on Bluetooth devices in late 2005.

Compared to the original Bluetooth specifications, Bluetooth version 2.0 + EDR transfers data up to three times faster. Enhanced multiple-connectivity is included in the Bluetooth version 2.0 + EDR. With EDR and Bluetooth 2.0 users can now run multiple Bluetooth devices simultaneously. Consequentially, Piconets or Bluetooth Personal-Area Networks (PAN) will become more ubiquitous.

Users will soon be able to listen to music with Bluetooth headphones while simultaneously synchronizing a Bluetooth enabled computer with a Bluetooth PDA.

Computing devices were the early adopters of Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR, while audio and imaging devices are just now getting on board. PlayStation  3, by Sony, announced it will use Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR for it’s wireless controllers.

The main enhancement features of the Bluetooth Specification Version 2.0 + EDR include:

All Bluetooth versions are backward compatible.

The transmission speed can be 10 times faster in certain instances.

Improved data transmission rates of up to 3 Mbps.

Reduced duty cycles has led to lower power consumption.

Broadcast and/or multicast support

The increased available bandwidth will also simplify existing multi-link scenarios.

The protocols of distributed media-access control.

Improved Bit Error Rate’s performance further

Version 2.1 of Bluetooth: EDR (Enhanced Data Rate)

Bluetooth CORE Version 2.1 + EDR has upgraded their equipment.

Better Ability to Connect

Improved and enhance power optimization

Version 3.0 Bluetooth + High Speed (HS)

Achieve higher data rates with Bluetooth Version 3.0 + HS; same classic interface. In Version 3.0, an established network infrastructure will not be required for high speed.

Bluetooth 3.0+ HS includes two major features that are beneficial to users.

More reliable experiences and lower latency is provided by Unicast Connectionless Data.

In order to address the common issue of dropouts, enhanced power control was developed.

Manufacturers too, will benefit from Bluetooth Version 3.0 + HS. Companies’ Bluetooth enabled products steadily increase in quality, while the cost of producing them steadily dwindles. Bluetooth products hit the market faster and easier because testing is now standardized and automated.

Version 4.0 Bluetooth + Enhanced Range

The opportunity for Bluetooth low energy technology, the hallmark feature of Version 4.0, was found to be considerable. Said Kirsten West, principal analyst with WTRS: “Bluetooth low energy will be a significant contributor to the overall Wireless Sensor Network market, representing nearly half of all shipments in 2015. The advantage to this new protocol is that it is totally optimized for low power battery operation.”

The hallmark feature enhancement to the Specification, Bluetooth low energy technology opens entirely new markets for devices requiring low cost and low power wireless connectivity, creating an evolution in Bluetooth wireless technology that will enable a plethora of new applications – some not even possible or imagined today. Many markets such as health care, sports and fitness, security, and home entertainment will be enhanced with the availability of small coin-cell battery powered wireless products and sensors now enabled by Bluetooth wireless technology.

Bluetooth low energy wireless technology, the hallmark feature of the v4.0 Bluetooth Core Specification, features:

Ultra-low peak, average and idle mode power consumption

Ability to run for years on standard coin-cell batteries

Low cost

Multi-vendor interoperability

Enhanced range

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