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Bluetooth 5 vs Bluetooth 4: Six key differences

Introduced in the mid-1990s, Bluetooth has been a very popular wireless technology. Not only for smartphones, but it can also be used to connect different devices such as wireless headphones, laptops, tablets, and wearables.

With the development of wireless technologies, Bluetooth has also gone through changes from the time it was introduced in the 1990s. Bluetooth version 5 brings major improvements over its predecessor. Here is a list of differences between Bluetooth 5 and Bluetooth 4.

  • Speed: Bluetooth 5 has a speed of 2 MB/s and a bandwidth of 5 MB/s, while Bluetooth 4 just has a speed of 1 MB/s and a bandwidth of 2.1 MB/s. The increased speed and bandwidth of version 5 makes it compatible with IoT. 
  • Power Requirement: Bluetooth 5 has been designed to use less power as compared to Bluetooth 4, which means decreased battery drainage and increased Bluetooth standby time. BT 5 also comes with the full support of Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), which had a limited scope with BT 4 as there were very few devices which could use low energy such as wearables and beacons earlier. Now even the power-hungry devices such as wireless headphones can use low energy with version 5.
  • Range: The range of Bluetooth has improved a lot in its 5th version, which has a range of 200 meters outdoor and 40 meters indoors. On the other hand, version 4 has a range of 50 meters outdoor and 10 meters indoor. This increased range also makes Bluetooth 5 super easy to work with IoT devices.
  • Message Capacity: Bluetooth 5 has a message capacity of 255 bytes which can hold up 244 bytes of data, while Bluetooth 4 has a message capacity of just 31 bytes with an actual payload of 17 to 20 bytes.
  • IoT Compatibility: As mentioned above, Bluetooth 5 is suitable to work with IoT devices due to its good range and high-speed data transfer but version 4 can not be used for IoT because of its less speed and short-range.
  • Backward Compatibility: Bluetooth 5 is backwards compatible, which means it will function properly with previous generations of Bluetooth. It is compatible with v4.2 to v1 of Bluetooth. BT 4 can’t use all the functions of BT 5 because of its own limitations.

Also read: Why you shouldn’t leave your device’s Bluetooth switched on in public?

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