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What Is Bluetooth 5.1 And How Does It Work? 

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What Is Bluetooth 5.1 And How Does It Work? 

Bluetooth is a wireless technology that allows for data to be exchanged between devices. It utilizes short-wavelength ultra-high frequency (UHF) radio waves for connections instead of wires or cables. The UHF radio waves build personal are networks, called PANs for short. A PAN is a network of computer devices centered on an individual’s workspace. It can transmit data among devices such as computers, smartphones, tablets, or digital assistants.

Originally, Bluetooth was created as simply a wireless alternative to RS-232 data cables. Now, Bluetooth is utilized in many different ways. Bluetooth can be used to instantly send photos, messages, or files between computers or smart devices. It can also be used to listen to music or audio wirelessly with Bluetooth headphones, connect a wireless mouse to a computer, print wirelessly, or have a cordless phone conversation.

How Does Bluetooth Work?

Bluetooth works through radio waves instead of wires or cables to connect smart devices, or Bluetooth enabled devices. If you think of how a television receives its programs or how cell phones transmit calls, that is similar in fashion to how Bluetooth works. The idea is the same, but Bluetooth is generally meant for short-range use to ensure the best connections and the least amount of connection drops and sync issues. Bluetooth is also only meant for short connection times and for sharing or using smaller amounts of data in comparison to WiFi, for example. Products with Bluetooth technology will contain a built-in computer chip that contains Bluetooth radio that will emit Bluetooth radio waves. Bluetooth radio is the software that helps make the connection between two devices possible. Then, when two Bluetooth enabled devices are in close proximity to one another, their Bluetooth radio technology will recognize the nearby device and pair together. Some Bluetooth devices allow for pairing to multiple devices at a time.

 

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Bluetooth does not require the internet since it works on its own radio wavelengths. Depending on the device, Bluetooth connecting can work anywhere from 1 meter to 100 meters. Most devices connect best within 10 meters. Bluetooth is a low-power transmitter, which means it will not interfere with larger power signals, and will also not drain batteries with their power usage. The short connection range of Bluetooth helps keep the lines secure, along with its encryption.

To set up Bluetooth on a capable device, just enable it in the settings. Then, when near another Bluetooth enabled device, the two will automatically pair. Once paired, any type of data can be shared between the two seamlessly and wirelessly.

What is Bluetooth 5.1?

Bluetooth 5.1 is the latest version of Bluetooth available, as of January 2019. The updated version offers some new changes, though most are minor in nature. In Bluetooth 5.1, Angle of Arrival (AoA) and Angle of Departure (AoD) for tracking and location of devices were improved upon from previous Bluetooth versions. Other improvements include more aggressive GATT caching (for faster connections), advertising channel indexes, periodic advertising sync transfers, ADI field in scan response data, interactions between QoS and flow specifications and HCI support for debugging keys in LE secure connections. In these improvements, advertising refers to how Bluetooth broadcasts that it’s available to connect to other devices. Better advertising makes for better and stronger connections. The upgrade to the channel indexing now means that Bluetooth can select channels at random and not be required to cycle through all 79 channels available in a specific order. This feature will help reduce interference in-device communication. Unit keys were one of the few items removed in the Bluetooth 5.1 version upgrade.

New additions to Bluetooth 5.1 that were not available in previous versions are a mesh-based model hierarchy to the core specification addendum (CSA). The Bluetooth mesh allows for many-to-many communication of Bluetooth radio. It is based on nodes relaying messages while encrypting and authenticating them. The goal of it is to prevent relaying messages recently seen.

Essentially, with Bluetooth 5.1, there are now direction-finding features that can help pinpoint physical locations exactly. Prior versions could tell how far away the connecting system was, but not the direction, the updated AoA, and AoD will help with that. The directional upgrade will help with indoor navigation or finding lost items that are Bluetooth capable.

Bluetooth 5.1 also should give stronger, more reliable connections with fewer drops and sync issues.

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