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Bluetooth 5 Is Here ( 114

Reader BrianFagioli writes: Today, the Bluetooth Special Interest Group announces the official adoption of the previously-announced Bluetooth 5. In other words, it is officially the next major version of the technology, which will eventually be found in many consumer devices. So, will you start to see Bluetooth 5 devices and dongles with faster speeds and longer range in stores tomorrow? Nope -- sorry, folks. Consumers will have to wait until 2017. The Bluetooth SIG says devices should become available between February and June next year.In a statement, Bluetooth SIG reminded the specifications of Bluetooth 5 -- "Key feature updates include four times range, two times speed, and eight times broadcast message capacity. Longer range powers whole home and building coverage, for more robust and reliable connections."
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Bluetooth 5 Is Here

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Longer range powers whole home and building coverage, for more robust and reliable connections.

    It's like he is >implying we don't have practically ubiquitous WiFi coverage.

    • Consumers will have to wait until 2017.

      Somebody tell them it's December now!

  • by Anonymous Coward
    With the new standard will my battery life be more than 5 minutes?
  • Audio (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rodrigoandrade ( 713371 ) on Wednesday December 07, 2016 @05:31PM (#53442855)
    If it gives me better wireless audio, I'm all for it. Else, it's a gimmick, as I can surely count on one hand the number of times I used Bluetooth (PS3/4 accessories included).
    • Part of the reason Bluetooth has very limited uses is the shithouse range which is part of what they are fixing. however not sure why they bother as at this point why would you choose Bluetooth when other wireless technologies now do the job.
      • "however not sure why they bother as at this point why would you choose ____ when other ____ technologies now do the job"

        lets play madlibs.

        javascript/java/go/php/ruby/python ... programming
        dick ... dildo
        blah blah blah

        As always, there are different tools for different jobs. Bluetooth uses much less power than WiFi for example.

      • Re:Audio (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 07, 2016 @05:43PM (#53442937)
        Bluetooth has quite adequate range for the use cases it serves. Game controllers, headphones, connecting to car entertainment/information systems, all these things work flawlessly with only a few meters of range needed. If you need more range than that, you're using the wrong technology.
        • So what you are saying is, Bluetooth 5 will be the wrong technology.
        • Since the old Bluetooth was limited in range. Doesn't that make it harder for someone to listen into your data? Is it me, or is the new Bluetooth defeating it's purpose?
      • by bws111 ( 1216812 )

        What other wireless technologies? Wifi? So you want every pair of wireless headphones, speakers, etc to now have to have some way to select what network to use, provide credentials etc?

        • plenty of devices use wifi/wireless tech in exactly the same way that Bluetooth is used. Bluetooth authentication is usually hidden to make it easier to understand for the average clueless user, just like it is hidden for other wireless tech devices like mice etc that don't use Bluetooth, simply because you don't see the network selection and authentication doesn't mean it doesn't exist.
          • > it is hidden for other wireless tech devices like mice etc that don't use Bluetooth, simply because you don't see the network selection and authentication doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

            If you can't see it, and don't know what standards are used, don't assume there is any authentication or confidentially. I can eavesdrop on wireless keyboards sold by Microsoft and other companies.

    • Re:Audio (Score:5, Interesting)

      by The-Ixian ( 168184 ) on Wednesday December 07, 2016 @06:06PM (#53443089)

      Why is it that after so many years, BT audio still stutters and jumps sometimes?

      I have experienced this problem across all the different devices and headphones I have owned over the years. It doesn't seem to matter how high end the devices are, this problem eventually crops up from time-to-time. It normally can be fixed by turning off wifi on the device, but that doesn't always do it.

      This problem seems to rear its head more often when I am around other people (public transit, restaurants, office buildings, etc) which leads me to believe it is an interference problem.

      If that is true then the increased range and speed might solve it, right? But if everyone has higher power BT signals wouldn't the interference be worse?

      I guess just wait and see...

      • Why is it that after so many years, BT audio still stutters and jumps sometimes?

        Two reasons... #1 usually the devices are cheap, underpowered and cannot keep up with blue tooth's overall processing demands and do all the other glitzy things that attracted all the people who where willing to purchase the device.... And #2, Bluetooth is not very robust in it's interference resistance as implemented on most low end devices (see #1).

        • Re:Audio (Score:5, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 07, 2016 @06:36PM (#53443279)

          #3 Bluetooth uses public spectrum and is subject to interference from all kinds of other electronic devices, including other bluetooth devices in the immediate area.

          • Yep. Which surely makes "longer range" in the BT5 spec more of an anti-feature, right?
            • by Dog-Cow ( 21281 )

              Depends. Higher range requires higher transmission power. So, for the one using the BT device, you'll get less interference from other devices. Until they all upgrade to BT5, of course.

            • by dave420 ( 699308 )

              If you assume they all blare out radiation as much as they can as often as they can, sure...

          • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

            Bingo. 2.4Ghz is hopeless for anything that isn't heavily buffered. Applies to wireless keyboards and mice as well.

          • I had big time problems trying to use my Logitech bluetooth mouse and keyboard at the same time an external spinning disk was attached via USB 3. Apparently the interference is a known issue [].

            I also recently purchased a WeightGurus scale that uses lower-power bluetooth to transmit reading to a companion smartphone app. When this happens there's some sort of interference between the WiFi and bluetooth receivers on my phone and I have to turn off bluetooth, then turn WiFi off/on and finally turn bluetooth b

      • by plover ( 150551 )

        Interference seems to be a big problem with Bluetooth. There are certain intersections in my city where the signal craps out while crossing the street; certain sections of the train and bus routes, and other places where music simply stutters or dies. I assume there's a local point source of interference to blame in each of those areas. I ended up fixing the problem by shelving my collection of Bluetooth headphones and going back to using wired headphones. The sound quality and reliability are far superi

        • Re:Audio (Score:5, Funny)

          by Applehu Akbar ( 2968043 ) on Wednesday December 07, 2016 @07:21PM (#53443459)

          "Interference seems to be a big problem with Bluetooth. There are certain intersections in my city where the signal craps out while crossing the street;"

          Usually, this happens about ten milliseconds before the truck you walked in front of slams into you as its grille interferes with the signal.

      • by p0p0 ( 1841106 )
        I've had this problem using my Android phone and PowerAMP to play. It turns out the problem is caused by turning the screen off and the phone trying to go to sleep. Getting an app to keep the screen on works, but then you're wasting a ton of battery.

        Leaving the screen on for me stops all those problems, and I've tried it on 3-4 different affordable bluetooth speakers.
    • by mlts ( 1038732 )

      I wouldn't mind something better than A2DP to play high quality audio, with the ability to downshift if there are connectivity issues. I also wouldn't mind some sort of block transfer protocol, perhaps upshifting to Wi-Fi (without needing to join a SSID or use an AP) when needed. Wi-Fi Direct tries to do this, but it needs an AP, so it isn't really that useful for allowing a drive to communicate to a laptop while the laptop is already using an AP, and one doesn't want to connect their hard drive to a publ

    • You can already get much better wireless audio by going over WiFi, at the cost of greater power consumption, of course. The other day, I was contemplating installing a Google Chromecast Audio in my car. It could in theory run off the WiFi Hotspot in my phone.
  • Just what we've all been clamoring for in our technical standards right?
  • a2dp (Score:1, Troll)

    ... needs to die. Please tell me they have scrapped it and replaced it with a proper, scaling bandwidth, full duplex, multichannel audio distribution protocol.

    • Troll? Is there literally anyone familiar with the protocol who disagrees?
      • Totally agree. I hate that when using bluetooth to my headset, it drops back to the headset protocol to use the mic. Why can't a2dp offer bidirectional audio for devices that have speakers and microphones?

        Also, the quality is terrible, but you mentioned that already.

  • by Ostracus ( 1354233 ) on Wednesday December 07, 2016 @05:56PM (#53443019) Journal

    Unfortunately for BT the software stacks will still suck.

    • by labnet ( 457441 )

      Unfortunately for BT the software stacks will still suck.

      I've given up on BT mice. Even the Microsoft branded ones, on different computers with different MS OS's eventually un-pair and become unusable.

      • The problem with newer BT peripheralw is that, for some reason, they are all now using bluetooth 4LE which is entirely another protocol which was not designed for HID devices. Why mice need to hack HID over BLE if the original standard worked better is a mystery to me.

        My MS BT 4 mouse sucks. The apple magic mouse is OK, but the logitech non-BT mice are much better.

  • Bluetooth audio should finally sound like a cable was used, instead of the existing weakened dynamic range, which removes any "punch" from mucic.
    • I've seen this complaint before, but I don't understand what people are talking about. I bought a Sony "mechless" head unit for my car so I could use BT for playing music, and it sounds fine to me. FWIW I'm not one of those that thinks 128K CBR MP3 sounds fine, I can usually tell up to at least 192K MP3 that it *is* MP3, ie I can hear the compression artifacts. The MP3s I put on my phone are compressed to VBR0, J-Stereo. It sounds quite decent in my car, plenty of "punch" as you put it. Granted I do have th

  • by swb ( 14022 ) on Wednesday December 07, 2016 @06:23PM (#53443191)

    I mean where I can pair a set of headphones to, say, a phone and a computer at the same time and get audio from both at the same time? Or send the audio from one device to multiple devices at the same time? Two headsets paired to one phone at once?

    Is this a hardware restriction of the radios, a limitation of the BT protocol or just the retarded nature of the implementation?

    • Good point. Bluetooth allow one-many pairings - the computer can pair w/ Bluetooth speakers, mice, keyboard, all simultaneously. But it doesn't allow many-one pairings, such as two phones accessing the car stereo. I'm not sure whether a phone being able to connect to just one headset is true or not, and if it is, why.

      I have 2 phones and 2 tablets. Sometimes, I may have 1 phone and 1 tablet in the car, making the tablet one of the music sources. Normally, if I am listening to the radio and a call come

      • by dave420 ( 699308 )

        It does have that functionality. Seemingly not in the devices you purchased, but it exists, so you should blame the products (or the purchaser thereof :-P) instead of bluetooth...

    • Think about your problem for a moment especially when combined with frequency hopping and other features intended against hardening a protocol against interference /attack. There actually few if any wireless standards which support this for data.

      • by swb ( 14022 )

        I guess I'm asking "why not?"

        If two devices can share information about frequency changes, key rotation or whatever, why can't three or more? The assumption is that you go through manual pairing/peering verification on the devices themselves, so there seems to be no reason that the protocols couldn't replicate this data among more than two devices.

  • iPhone support (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Jason1729 ( 561790 )
    Well, now we know what the flagship feature will be for the 2021 model iPhone. Plus model only, of course.
    • Re:iPhone support (Score:5, Interesting)

      by seoras ( 147590 ) on Wednesday December 07, 2016 @08:51PM (#53443767)

      iPhone 7 & Air Pods (ie W1 chip) already support BT5 (in hardware anyway).
      Today they just ratified the standard and set it in stone (which allows the hardware to get a software update on todays spec).
      Perhaps this is why the Air Pods were delayed until now. []

      • I was actually wondering this when the iphone 7 came out. Apple literature kept saying "custom bluetooth chip" which, to me, is code for "don't touch it with a 10 foot pole". But if it really is just pre-released BT5 (which will be presumably be updated with new firmware), then the iphone 7 suddenly becomes a whole lot more attractive.

  • Considering the removal of the headphone jack, surely this would have been a nice olive branch to say they have the latest and greatest.
    Plus they generally adopt new tech very quickly

  • I just want my phone to connect to my car reliably!

Today is a good day for information-gathering. Read someone else's mail file.