In this article, we cover the Bluetooth 5.2 vs 5.1 vs 5.0 specs to better understand how the next generation of Bluetooth-enabled devices would evolve in the world of wireless communication.
Technology has been evolving consistently, and Bluetooth is one of the prime technologies that has redefined itself over the years. Bluetooth has been one of the de-facto standards for wireless communication across low-power devices. The Bluetooth technology has developed over the years, and it is now time for Bluetooth version 5.2.
To begin with, let us look at the initial Bluetooth specifications that made into so many wireless headsets and communication devices. See the table below:
Bluetooth Low Energy BLE (V 4.2)
The improved Bluetooth version 5.0 specifications were released two years after Bluetooth 4.2. However, it does pack in a wide range of interesting new features. The changes made in the Bluetooth version 5.0 made it all the more exciting option for those who were using wireless devices quite a lot for a wide range of application areas.
The first and foremost improvements introduced on Bluetooth version 5.0 include increased data transfer speeds. The 2 Mbps optimum conditions can prove to be an excellent option that you would find impressive and effective. Yet another improvement brought ahead by the Bluetooth 5.0 would include the resolution of the latency issues.
Referred to as lag in a layman’s language, the latency was quite common and unavoidable in specific scenarios. The increase in the data transfer speeds of 2 Mbps considerably reduced the latency issues on most of the Bluetooth connections and Bluetooth transfers.
The Bluetooth 5.0 version also improved the audio quality on the connected devices. Once again, the faster speeds are instrumental in getting access to a better quality in audio. You would ideally find that there would be a lesser number of lags and delays in your audio transmission. This allows aptx over Bluetooth devices.
For every Bluetooth version, you are likely to face a significant issue in terms of coverage issues. In addition, the range that the Bluetooth devices work with can affect the data transfer quality to a greater extent. However, when you compare it to the previous generation of Bluetooth 4.2 – you will notice that Bluetooth version 5.0 brings in a massive range of improvement.
This is sole because Bluetooth 5.0 has improved the connectivity range to up to 200 meters. If you are indoors, you will be able to get access to a range of 40 meters. In fact, with Bluetooth 5.0, you should be able to get excellent audio quality even when the connected devices are placed rooms apart. Under most ideal conditions, you need not worry about the walls that can hinder the transmission between the two wireless devices.
Bluetooth 5.1 is the latest and most advanced Bluetooth technology. However, it does come with several new advantages and new features set to redefine what we usually think of Bluetooth-enabled devices. The version has added a host of new functionalities and has gone a long way in improving the user experience.
You would not find a vast difference between Bluetooth 5.0 and 5.1 when it comes to the features such as range, data transfer speeds, and other features, but there are a few under the hood changes that you would find quite impressive and rewarding to the core.
Bluetooth has never been used before as a means of detecting the direction or location of your devices. Bluetooth 5.1 improves the direction sensing capability of Bluetooth devices. By adequately detecting the signal strength received, you can estimate the radius of the device you are trying to see.
The improved direction sensing has provided you access to detecting the device to up to centimeters! If the device has multiple antennas, this can double up as one of the excellent options for detecting the location of the devices quite effectively and efficiently.
Bluetooth 5.0 itself has been designed to consume less power. The functionality has now been improved on the new Bluetooth version 5.1. That would mean, in the case of a Bluetooth headset, you will be able to listen to your favorite music for a prolonged period on equivalent battery capacity.
This is made possible thanks to Generic Attribute Profile caching enhancement. This will undertake the service discovery when devices connect. The connection information is saved in the cache, and thus your device does not need to keep checking for the device continuously. Your battery will thus be preserved, and you will be able to use the device for a prolonged period. This will also provide you access to a faster connection capability.
This is one of the prominent options introduced on Bluetooth 5.1 and helps you in powerful randomized advertising channel indexing. The older versions of Bluetooth used to cycle through cycles 37, 38, and 39 in chronological order. On Bluetooth 5.1, you will find that any channel can be chosen quite randomly.
This will help connect with multiple Bluetooth devices in a room without worrying about the interference of any nature. For instance, you will be able to use your Bluetooth earbuds and Bluetooth speakers simultaneously without the need to worry about interference.
We covered almost all the aspects of how Bluetooth 5.0 and Bluetooth 5.1 were introduced in the above discussion. But, we thought it would be pretty practical to find the improvements on Bluetooth 5.1 compared to Bluetooth 5.0.
That should be one of the unique features found on Bluetooth 5.1. The Bluetooth 5.0 could provide you information on how far the receiver is, but Bluetooth 5.1 lets you find the exact location. This is achieved through Bluetooth signal strength detection in the case of Bluetooth 5.0.
Bluetooth 5.1 uses more antennas and thus pinpoints the exact direction, and signal strength determines the distance. Therefore, Bluetooth 5.1 can find an exact location within an inch or a few centimeters.
GATT Caching has been able to speed up the connection of the devices that have been connected previously. Each time the two devices connect, the two devices exchange information on what other devices support. In Bluetooth 5.0, the devices need to check the whereabouts of the devices connected quite often.
In Bluetooth 5.1, this process is skipped. Instead, if the information has not changed from the initial pairing, the required data is checked against the cache, which uses less power. You will thus be able to get access to a faster connection.
This is yet another powerful option you will find quite impressive on Bluetooth 5.1. The devices begin broadcasting their availability the moment that they are powered on. So, for example, the Bluetooth speakers or earbuds will start looking for a device to connect when they are removed from the case or switched on.
Bluetooth 5.1 comes with an advanced feature referred to as randomized advertising channel indexing. So each of the devices would run on a specific channel. That would ensure that your connection is not interrupted by the other Bluetooth devices even when they are in close vicinity.
Why should you upgrade your devices to Bluetooth 5.1? The reasons outlined above and the differences between Bluetooth 5.0 and 5.1 as featured in the above discussion should explain why.
The prime reason you want to upgrade to the latest version of the Bluetooth (or upgrade to the devices that come with the newest version) is that you will experience better audio and video performance.
Unfortunately, due to the lack of consumer devices, we do not have a lot of information. However, it is not a significant revision and hence called Bluetooth 5.2 instead of 6.0. The new specifications help to transmit more data over similar or lower bandwidth devices such as fitness bands. The new LC3 codec introduces better compression and decompression (Input & Output). The LC3 codec should also help to transmit lossless audio using lesser bandwidth.
Source: Bluetooth SIG
The Enhanced Attribute protocol on the 5.2 version aids in parallel transmission across multiple Bluetooth-enabled devices simultaneously. The technology is very similar to MIMO Wi-Fi routers that are already there on the market.
The inclusion of Isochronous Channels introduces a “Dual-Audio feature” that should allow multiple paired devices to operate from a single source. So maybe we might see some exciting set of consumer audio devices that can listen across TV, Laptop, or audio devices without the current switching technique. So, to summarize, the three main features are as follows:
Note: Bluetooth 5.2 by itself will not be adequate to support the new LE Audio. There will be supplementary specifications that will perform the profiles on top of Bluetooth 5.2 in order to carry the different audio use cases. Also, Bluetooth 5.2 was released adjacent to the new LE Audio announcement on January 6, 2020.
In connections, each stream is referred to as a Connected Isochronous Stream (CIS). When CIS’s need to be synchronized, such as ones sent to left and right earbuds, they are configured to be part of a single group referred to as a Connected Isochronous Group (CIG).
Streams that are part of the same CIG share timing reference data that are necessary for synchronized stream rendering on multiple receivers. CIGs allows bi-directional data transfer, such as in earbuds containing microphones and sending control data to the source device.
Also, do note that a device may create multiple Connected Isochronous Groups.
For connectionless communication (broadcasts), a group of synchronized streams may stream data from a single source to multiple sinks. Each stream is referred to as a Broadcast Isochronous Stream (BIS). A group of BIS’es is referred to as a Broadcast Isochronous Group (BIG). See more here.
An example is a TV streaming audio data to multiple sinks, such as different individuals wearing earbuds individually.
Just as in the case of CIGs, a device may create multiple BIGs.
Bluetooth 5.1 is one of the unique and new technologies in terms of Bluetooth connectivity. However, to get the best possible experience with Bluetooth 5.1, we may need to wait for a while. This is because the manufacturers may take time until the new technology is used in their devices. However, we have witnessed a few of the devices that come with Bluetooth 5.1 compatibility.
In any case, the Bluetooth 5.1 is one of the excellent options you would find quite interesting and impressive to the core. So if you have many options to get access to Bluetooth 5.1 connectivity, we would find it a great chance you would find quite impressive.
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