IT Support and Hardware for Clinics
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IT Support and Hardware for Clinics
News, Information and Updates on Hardware and IT Tools to help improve your Medical practice
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Bluetooth 4.2 is faster, safer, and lets lightbulbs connect to the internet

Bluetooth 4.2 is faster, safer, and lets lightbulbs connect to the internet | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics |

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group — the not-for-profit collective responsible for the development of new standards for the wireless technology — has just officially adopted version 4.2 of the Bluetooth core specification. The new Bluetooth has measures to increase privacy and speed, and it also brings IP connectivity to devices that support it, meaning sensors and other smart devices can connect straight to the internet.

That connectivity theoretically makes home automation a lot easier, with smart products such as light bulbs, thermostats, and door sensors able to access to the internet without the use of another go-between device. The BSIG says the new standard will scale with the market and let developers make devices that can easily communicate with each other, making Bluetooth 4.2 "the foundation for the Internet of Things."

Not all of version 4.2's features will work with older Bluetooth adapters

The new version also makes it more difficult to track devices through their Bluetooth connections. People shopping in stores with Apple's iBeacons — low-power Bluetooth transmitters that can guide customers around — can't be tracked if they're using version 4.2, unless they specifically give permission for the beacons to interact with their device. Bluetooth 4.2 uses less power and is quicker, too, allowing data transfer up to two and a half times faster than earlier versions.

Bluetooth 4.2 has clear advances over its predecessors, but Ars Technica reports that "some, but not all" of the new specification's features will be available to those with older devices. Many Bluetooth adapters included in modern devices are configured to work with Bluetooth 4.0, and although a software update previously meant devices using such adapters could also use version 4.1, a Bluetooth SIG spokesperson said that to take advantage of the increased speed and packet size of version 4.2, a hardware update would be required.

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Bluetooth 4.2 to Bring Direct Internet Connectivity and Increased Speed

Bluetooth 4.2 to Bring Direct Internet Connectivity and Increased Speed | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics |

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) today announced the new Bluetooth 4.2 specification, which promises enhanced privacy measures, increased speed of data transfers, and an update that will allow Bluetooth Smart sensors to directly access the Internet.

The group emphasizes connected home scenarios as being able to take the most advantage of Bluetooth 4.2's new direct Internet access feature, promising low-power connectivity using the standard and with IPv6 support available by year's end.

“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. “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.”

The new 4.2 spec also promises speedier data transfers between devices, up to 2.5 times faster than previous versions. Bluetooth SIG promises that "increased data transfer speeds and packet capacity reduces the opportunity for transmission errors to occur and reduces battery consumption, resulting in a more efficient connection."

The new privacy features also take aim at lowering power consumption, while protecting consumers from being tracked through their Bluetooth devices. As more retail stores and public places accept Bluetooth beacons and similar applications, Bluetooth SIG hopes to be at the forefront for protecting every user's personal and private information.

The new privacy features put control back into the hands of the consumer by making it difficult for eavesdroppers to track a device through its Bluetooth connection without permission. For example, when shopping in a retail store with beacons, unless you’ve enabled permission for the beacon to engage with your device, you can’t be tracked.

The standard Bluetooth 4.2 specificiation is available now, with the new direct Internet access feature due within a month.

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