Since the last decade or so, Bluetooth has been a vital part of our technological lives. It’s how we link our wireless headphones, keyboards, mice, and other peripherals to our desktop PCs and cellphones. Despite its importance as a component of wireless technology, Bluetooth has long been a source of criticism. Bluetooth connections are unreliable, file transfer speeds are slow, and there is no distinguishing characteristic to set it apart. With the new Bluetooth 5.1, all of that is set to change, and here’s all you need to know about it:
What is Bluetooth 5.1?
To put it another way, Bluetooth 5.1 is the most recent Bluetooth technology standard, and it brings a slew of new features. The new Bluetooth 5.1 technology, which is built on top of the current Bluetooth 5.0 standard, will not only increase connection reliability but also deliver real-time data such as position and proximity detection.
Advancement in technology that comes with Bluetooth 5.1
Bluetooth 5.1 introduces a slew of new features that will transform future compatible gadgets into homing missiles. Essentially, it will allow you to pinpoint your Bluetooth 5.1 devices to within a few inches of their exact location. A number of enhancements included in Bluetooth 5.1 make this possible. The following are the significant enhancements that you should be aware of:
1. Direction Finding – Improves Device Location Finding
One of the most significant enhancements in Bluetooth 5.1 is a feature called “Direction Finding,” which allows Bluetooth devices to determine the direction of Bluetooth signal transmission. Bluetooth currently estimates distance using signal strength, which is not very precise. The new Bluetooth 5.1 standard will combine two ways for detecting the angle from which a Bluetooth signal is being delivered, resulting in a high degree of precision.
Angle of Arrival (AoA) and Angle of Departure (AoD) are the two approaches, and they both need one of the two communication devices to have a multi-antenna array. When using the AoA and AoD systems, the antenna is integrated in both the receiving and sending devices. This new feature enables the receiving device’s Bluetooth Low Energy (LE) controller to generate a collection of data that may be used to compute the directional angle between the receiving and transmitting devices.
This directional angle information can subsequently be used by developers to create Bluetooth-based positioning systems such as real-time locating systems (RTLS) and indoor positioning systems (IPS). The advantages of this increase in real life are incalculable. It basically allows you to track your Bluetooth 5.1-enabled gadgets to within inches of their precise location. So, the next time you misplace your wireless earbuds, you’ll be able to locate them fast and easily. You won’t have to rummage through the entire sofa looking for your keys because you’ll know just which cushion to raise to discover them.
2. GATT Caching Enhancements – Improves Connection Stability and Battery Life
The Generic Attribute Profile (GATT) is used by all Bluetooth Low Energy linked devices to establish a connection with one another. The attributes table is a database that contains device identifying information such as GATT service, characteristic, and descriptor structural features and values in all GATT devices. When a Bluetooth device connects to another device, it sends a service discovery request to obtain these attributes and utilise them to establish the connection.
This service discovery request requires a lot of time and energy under the current Bluetooth 5.0 standard, which could result in a poor connection and higher battery consumption. The characteristics caching has been improved with the latest Bluetooth 5.1 specification. It now allows clients who do not have a trusted relationship with a server to save their attribute cache between connections, allowing a device to skip the discovery phase and join right away.
Because the discovery procedure is not repeated every time a device establishes a connection, connection drops are reduced, and battery life is improved. Please keep in mind that GATT Caching, like all of the other topics covered in this essay, is a rather complex issue. To make these issues easier to understand, I’ve tried to simplify them as much as possible. Visit the official Bluetooth website for complete technical information.
3. Bluetooth Advertising Enhancements – Improves Scalability, Reliability and Energy Efficiency
The Bluetooth advertising feature is getting two big upgrades, which are detailed below:
– Randomized Advertising Channel Indexing
We are surrounded by connected gadgets today, and because most of them use the same radio channels, they frequently cause connection issues with one another, a concept that I have clearly addressed in our 5 GHz explanation post. While Bluetooth is not the same as WiFi, the same basic notion applies, which means that if there are too many Bluetooth devices advertising their connection in the same area, they may interact and cause connectivity problems. Bluetooth 5.1 intends to address this issue by enhancing Bluetooth advertising.
Bluetooth LE devices announce their availability to adjacent devices using a technique called advertising, in which Bluetooth devices communicate data in packets over three particular channels in the order 37, 38, and 39, that is, strictly in that order. Because there are only three channels, if two or more devices are present, data packet collision is likely, resulting in connection dropouts. Bluetooth 5.0 attempts to address this issue by providing a 0-10 ms random delay between each advertising instance, but it is ineffective.
With Bluetooth 5.1, devices will no longer be required to adhere to the rigorous protocol of transferring data packets in the above-mentioned order. Instead, devices can now choose channels at random, lowering the risk of advertising packet collisions.
– Periodic Advertising Sync Transfer
The “SyncInfo” feature in the current Bluetooth 5.0 standard allows Bluetooth devices to coordinate their advertising and scanning schedules. This means that a master and a client device communicate with one another so that the master device advertises connectivity at the same time that the client device requests it. Because both devices are transmitting data packets at the same time, the odds of missing connection requests are slim to none. This results in lower power usage.
The new Periodic Advertising Sync Transfer (PAST) protocol in Bluetooth 5.1 enhances this feature by allowing devices to share scheduling info with one another. For example, if my smartphone has already created a plan with my television, it can share that schedule with my smartwatch to save energy. This is especially advantageous for Bluetooth LE devices, such as smartwatches, smart bands, tile trackers, and other similar devices, because they don’t have to waste energy on the scheduling process and may thus last longer.
4. Additional Minor Improvements
Apart from the significant improvements listed above, Bluetooth 5.1 also includes a slew of minor improvements. For starters, there’s a new Sleep Clock Accuracy Update method that uses less power. It also adds HCI support for debugging keys in secure low-energy connections. SID and ADI are now allowed to be included in scan response reports and scan response packets, respectively. Don’t worry if you don’t grasp what any of this implies. Just keep in mind that these tiny tweaks are targeted at boosting Bluetooth LE device security and lowering power consumption.
Bluetooth 5.1 vs Bluetooth 5.0 Comparison
If you’ve read this far, you’re probably aware of the enhancements that Bluetooth 5.0 will bring. This section was added just to summarise everything here. Bluetooth 5.1 was released to improve location detection and connection reliability. While Bluetooth 5.0 may assist you in finding your Bluetooth devices, it was not very precise. Users will be able to locate their Bluetooth devices within inches of their exact location thanks to new direction-finding capabilities in Bluetooth 5.1.
GATT and advertising improvements are also included in Bluetooth 5.1, which should increase connectivity and battery life. While Bluetooth 5.0 offers a huge boost over its predecessor in terms of battery life, any improvement is always good. What you won’t see is a big increase in connection range or data transmission speed. These should potentially improve, but you won’t notice any difference in a day-to-day use case.
List of Cheap Best Bluetooth 5.1 Headphones
Are you any Impressed by Bluetooth 5.1?
While the Bluetooth 5.1 update does not appear to be as significant as Bluetooth 5.0, it does add one feature that Bluetooth has traditionally lacked: a unique selling point. The new location-finding feature is fantastic, and I can see us adopting Bluetooth LE trackers to keep track of our devices in the near future. What are your thoughts on this latest update? Please share your thoughts in the comments box below.