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Limitations of Bluetooth Technology

Bluetooth

Bluetooth has been part of our daily lives for many years now. We use it almost permanently with all our little mobile companions. This wireless communication standard has many advantages and is very practical. However, Bluetooth also has some disadvantages. So what are the limitations of Bluetooth technology?

What Is Bluetooth?

Bluetooth is a communication standard developed in 1994 by the Swedish manufacturer Ericsson. This technology, based on the use of UHF radio waves, allows the bidirectional exchange of data over a very short distance.

The main advantage of Bluetooth is that it allows a connection between two devices without any wired connection. Very quickly, Bluetooth entered the world of mobile phones and computers. Thanks to this technology, some devices can be connected (computer and printer, telephone and computer, etc.) without the need to connect a cable between them. All operations for transferring documents, information, etc., between two devices, then become much easier.

The name “Bluetooth” (literally “blue tooth”) refers to the name of the Danish king Harald I (910-986), nicknamed Harald Blåtand (“the blue tooth”), who is credited with the unification of Sweden and Norway and the introduction of Christianity in the Scandinavian countries.

Unlike IrDA technology, the main competing technology using light rays for data transmission, Bluetooth technology uses radio waves (2.4 GHz frequency band) to communicate, so devices do not necessarily have to be in visual link to communicate.

Bluetooth speakers can operate without any spatial limitations as long as the speakers and receiver are within 30 feet of each other. There is no need to change the settings; the link can be established wirelessly between the receiver and the Bluetooth speakers.

Differences Between Wifi And Bluetooth

While Bluetooth uses the same frequency bandwidth as Wi-Fi (which can lead to one network jamming or disrupting the other), Bluetooth requires less energy, but does not provide the same coverage or speed as Wi-Fi, so the latter is more apt to replace a hard-wired network.

Disadvantages of Bluetooth Speakers

Range

Bluetooth chips do not all have the same range: they are divided into three classes according to their range and power.

Class 1 can reach about 100 meters (100 mW max) compared to 10 meters for class 2 (2.5 mW max) and 1 meter for class 3 (1 mW max).

For Bluetooth LE, manufacturers cannot exceed 10 mW, which prevents long distances between devices, but limits energy consumption.

Bluetooth speakers are in class 2. To operate, the device (i.e. music player, cell phone, laptop, etc.) and the speakers must be within 30 feet of each other. This makes it difficult to play music when you are installed in another room.

Power

Bluetooth speakers are not able to compete with conventional speakers in terms of raw power (i. e. watts). Their sound is less loud, without the richness and depth of traditional loudspeakers.

Compatibility

Although most mobile devices are Bluetooth compatible, some are not.

Security

Since they use an operating system and a wireless connection, it is possible to hack them. There is therefore a risk to the security of personal data and intrusion into private life. The Bluetooth protocol may be secure, but hackers can easily hack into it to access the data of a connected object.

It may also occur that someone is trying to block a device from communicating. There are therefore very many threats on such a vulnerable network, which works on the airwaves.

As a result, a considerable number of attacks have been reported since the beginning of Bluetooth use. For each type of threat, a vulnerability in the Bluetooth standard specifications has been found. Using dedicated tools, hackers were able to access Bluetooth networks or disable devices from operating normally.

The Future Of Bluetooth: Bluetooth 5

Bluetooth 4.2 is not succeeded by Bluetooth 4.3, or even Bluetooth 5.0, but by Bluetooth 5, ratified in early 2017. If the numbering suggests that this is a revolution, it is in fact only an iterative update. The Bluetooth SIG in turn adopts this trend, initiated by Google with Chrome, which consists in using only integers.

Bluetooth 5 is still a major update that, for starters, doubles the range and quadruples the speed of low-energy Bluetooth low-energy transmissions, paving the way for lossless music broadcasting, among other things.

In addition, since the advent of Low Energy Bluetooth, Bluetooth has been used in retail for advertising purposes. Businesses install beacons that detect phones, track their movements and stops. Customers with the merchant’s application can receive targeted promotions or ads. And with this in mind, Bluetooth 5 allows beacons to broadcast a set of information that is “eight times richer”.

There are still few Bluetooth 5 speakers on the market, but some brands are starting to offer them, such as JBL .

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