Consumer Electronics

Bluetooth Evolves to Version 4.2, Aims at IoT

04 December 2014

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) has officially adopted version 4.2 of the core specification with the upgrades and additions said to improve privacy, security and increase speed.

A soon-to-be ratified v4.2 profile will enable internet protocol connectivity over Bluetooth, which will add to the short-range protocol's utility for Internet of Things (IoT) applications. However there is as yet no ability to create mesh-like ad hoc radio networks.

The additional privacy features in v4.2 are designed to make it more difficult for eavesdroppers to track a device through its Bluetooth connection unless specific permission is given. Thus in a shopping mall, unless permission is given, Bluetooth beacons will not be able to engage with a device.

A speed up in data transmission for v4.2 by up to a factor of 2.5 has been engineered by making Bluetooth Smart packets larger and increasing the transmit clock frequency. The net result is fewer dropped packets and higher data rates at lower power consumption, Bluetooth SIG said.

The Internet Protocol Support Profile (IPSP) will allow Bluetooth Smart sensors to access the Internet directly via IPv6/6LoWPAN. IP connectivity makes it possible to use existing IP infrastructure to manage Bluetooth Smart devices. This is suitable for connected home scenarios that need both personal and wide area control.

"Bluetooth 4.2 is all about continuing to make Bluetooth Smart the best solution to connect all the technology in your life – from personal sensors to your connected home. In addition to the improvements to the specification itself, a new profile known as IPSP enables IPv6 for Bluetooth, opening entirely new doors for device connectivity," said Mark Powell, executive director of the Bluetooth SIG, in a statement. "Bluetooth Smart is the only technology that can scale with the market, provide developers the flexibility to innovate, and be the foundation for the IoT."

ISPS will be ratified by the end of the year, Bluetooth SIG said.

Related links and articles:

IHS connected home research

News articles:

MegaChips, IMEC Develop Short-Range Radio for IoT

NXP Buys Wearable, Bluetooth Business

Chips to Build the IoT On

IMEC, Rohm Research Ultra Low Power Radio

Bluetooth for IoT Lowers the Power

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