What is Bluetooth 5.0 And It's Advantages

What is Bluetooth 5.0 And It's Advantages?

Bluetooth help our daily life easier and since the beginning bluetooth experience has been improved so many times and today we will tackle the new bluetooth 5.0 as it claimed two big things first of all it claimed that it is going to boost the overall data speed of the bluetooth protocol so it actually claimed almost double the speed over bluetooth low-energy 4.2 and the second thing it claims is much larger distances.

Now at first when this was announced it was announced in a kind of a way that you think that you would get both the double data speed and the longer distances all actually wrapped up in one package which is not actually quite like that now I've done some testing and I've been looking at this and I'll just explain to the truth about bluetooth 5, now don't get me wrong I think bluetooth 5 is brilliant and I really enjoyed my time experimenting with it and doing some testing about what you can achieve is bluetooth 5 but it's important to understand from inky truth some key characteristics of the bluetooth file specification.

The Experiment

Now to do that I've got hold or two development boards one for sending data and one receiving data because there are no consumer they will gadgets available yet that I could play with and now those boards I've got one here hold on this board here is from Nordic semiconductors is the RF 5 to 8 4 oh it runs a arm cortex-m for microcontroller and then it's got all the bluetooth circuitry built into it I've got two of them so I can send data between the two of them and then connected to a laptop I can get some information out of it telling me the speed and that I've been able to achieve.

What the bluetooth 5 specification does is it adds at the lowest level that's what we would call the physical level because it's talking about the radio waves that goes through there the physical level they've doubled the speed of the data packets, so under bluetooth low-energy 4.2 the data packets were sent at 1 megabit per second now in bluetooth 5 that's been doubled to 2 megabits per second now it doesn't mean you'll get actually 2 megabits per second of data because there are a few things that happen in the protocol including gap between different packets that are sent and those gaps are of a defined size and the gap between the packet has remained the same form bluetooth 4.2 - bluetooth 5 so the overall speed is actually about 1.7 times faster and we'll I'll show you some figures go down a minute.

Now that's the new 2 megabit per second of physical connection but there's a separate type of connection this is the key thing here it's a separate type of connection is the long-distance connection so you're not going to get 2 megabits over the longer distances which may have been the way that it was kind of initially suggested in fact there's a special kind of connection which lowers the bitrate deliberately to be quite low maybe to only 800 kilobits a second, but it's able to achieve maybe 4 times the distance and it does that using a special encoding method which I'll talk about in a minute but let's start with the 2 megabits a second stuff so what I did is I got an example program from Nordic semiconductor who provide examples for developers on how to get the bluetooth 5 stuff running I modified it to meet my particular needs and basically what I did was I ran the throughput test which tells you how my States you can get through from one board to the other around my house so the one board stayed connected to my computer over USB cable and then the other board I moved to different locations now here's a map of my house and as you can see in the bottom left hand corner is where the computer is and where the third board was and then the little blue stars that you see around the place there are different places that I moved the second board so the first one just above there is I moved it into the hallway outside of my office and then I moved into another room then I moved to the far corner of the house and then I moved it back round to another place in the house so basically that I measure the kind of throughput in those different places now my house is made mainly out of partition walls so there's not much of concrete and bricks but it's all kind of plaster border that called drywall and you've got wood you've got insulation and you've got some metal frames and but basically we're not talking thick concrete walls now you may get different results depending on the structure the internal structure of your house.

Now with the two boards next which other I was getting around 1.3 almost 1.4 megabits a second between the two boards and that really is a significant increase around 1.7 times faster than what you get with bluetooth low-energy 4.2 now as I move the second board around the house and the first point is out there in the hallway just through one wall about five meters away the speed did start to change but to compare it to how well bluetooth 4.2 did as well I also ran the same test over the oldest stack which would then give us a comparison to see how the two are doing so as you can see as I move the board the second board to point number one which is at five meters away at 16 feet away then the throughput on bluetooth 5 dropped to one point two megabits a second which is still very very good and as a comparison we can see that bluetooth 4.2 was working at 372 kilobits per second so really that is or double there now once I move the board to its second point which is 11 meters away that's 36 feet away went through two walls you can see the bluetooth 5 dropped down to 900 kilobits a second now that's quite a significant drop from 1.2 megabytes a second but we can see that bluetooth 4 dropped from 622 megabits in 629 megabits of things that would drop from bluetooth 4 was much less than the drop from that you spirits in bluetooth 5, now once I move to point number 3 which is really the other end of my house diagonally opposite to where my desk and the PC are we can see the throughput drop significantly on bluetooth 5 we can see it's now 70 kilobits a second and on bluetooth 4.3 - it was 386 kilobits a second so it's four hundred and something or other and three hundred something other so bluetooth 5 is still faster but you can see that actually the difference between the two has been reduced significantly and what that tells it is the further you get away the further the range between the two devices the less benefit there is to bluetooth 5 when they close to each other within a few meters of each other bluetooth 5 is really fast double almost double the speed but when you get to like ten eleven meters away inside the house now then that drops down and the difference between the two becomes less noticeable.

Now the fourth test was a different place in the house as you can see here I had five 584 kilobits a second and 533 kilobits a second now although that that's closer than point number 3. This was done with internals of households meaning it has variety of furniture and walls which the signal will bounce around and messes the signals from sender to receiver.

Initial Advantage

So to recap what I tell it is that when bluetooth 5 have a clear path when there's maybe only a short distance or maybe just one wall between them you're going to get good speeds much better than what you're getting with 4.2 but as that range increases as the obstacles increase the difference between 4.2 two and 5 is less obvious as you can see the way the 5.0 were described as we get double the performance and four times the distance or you can see that's actually not true because 5.0 actually has a kind of the same distance in two megabit mode adjust as 4.0 has been one megabit now in fact there are some mathematical calculations that would imply but actually the two megabits per second mode of bluetooth five actually has a shorter slightly shorter range than that of 4.2, but the difference is this in bluetooth 5 there is a new kind of connection that's been defined the special kind of connection that says I want to make a long-distance connection here so speed is ultimately reduced right down to only a hundred kilobits per second but way down from one point three megabits down to a hundred kilo is what that means is that in each packet there's more energy being used more power transmitted for each individual bit that gets sent along and they also use another trick now there's a thing called hamming codes now I've tried to explain this very very quickly if you send me 1 and 0 that's how network communications works if a 1 gets changing to a 0 along the way that can be disastrous because you thought you're receiving a while in fact you received a 0 and then of course the whole everything just goes horribly wrong now there's a way of sending multiple bits to represent only one bit now if you go really simple example it isn't the Hamming code but it may give a really simple example senator names one let's say I send four (1) now if in the communication one of those bits gets chained so now we've got 1101 we can be pretty sure because there are still three 1s in there but actually that would be 1 and so there's a way of correcting an error correction and the same works for 0 if you send four 0 and actually you receive 0100 you're pretty sure it's still meant to be a 0 because it's one bit corrupted but if two bit gets corrected using this system I'm explaining to you then things fall apart because you don't know that it's 1010 did that come from 0000 does it come from 1111 and two bits have been changed but thankfully there's a whole area of computer science called information theory which defines how you can send these packets and be sure even if there is some corruption on the way that the packets that you know what arriving right now in bluetooth five is called forward error correction it uses a type of Hamming code and basically for every one bit was sent as another four bits are actually so that means you also bring down the throughput significantly because you're sending more data but you're more assured of what arrived at the other end.

Testing Outside

Now to test how this long-distance connection works because I don't have 100 meter house 300 foot house and how to see how bluetooth 5 work sort of outdoors, I took my two boards down to a local shopping center with a friend of mine and we tried some experiments now this segment is a bit kind of wilder than me here in the studio because I'm kind of doing it there in the shopping center but I hope you find interesting.

The experiment done in a shopping center tells a variety of results one of them is that the bitrate between two signals significantly change when the two points are far away and also some interferance when somebody walks between those two points such as people or cars driving by.

Final Thoughts

The bluetooth version 5.0 is a lot faster than bluetooth version 4.2 there will be some great possibilities, loads of applications that can be made using this faster throughput and yet with below battery usage, however don't expect four times the distance coverage with bluetooth 5 using that two megabit a second connection if you want the long connection then your bluetooth has to be in a special mode which they call CODED because of that forward error correction system which allows the data to be transfers slower that's great for home security, great for home automation but it's not the same stuff you're going to be using when you're sending audio to a speaker or something like that so there we go I'm looking forward to it, now one thing just to mention is that actually the two megabit a second connection and the CODED connections are not mandatory in bluetooth 5 so actually a manufacturer can make a bluetooth 5 piece of equipment with only one megabit per second connection just like the 4.2 but it has to understand all of the new version protocols include expanded advertisement packets which I talked about and that's great for beacons and so on but actually I am hoping that when these 5.0 hits our speaker or smartphones is a full stack and I'm hoping they're not gonna just cut away bits and just leave it with basically a 4.2 stack with a new understanding of the protocol packet I hope they actually going to put in the full 5.0 stack with the greater distance and the greater speed we'll have to see when we come to do that testing.