When you say Bluetooth, most of you are sure to imagine wireless headphones, speakers, and in recent years, all sorts of sports bracelets, smart watches, and small wireless gadgets and controllers that communicate using the energy-saving BLE protocol.
In any case, they all have 2.4GHz Bluetooth radio technology combined with a relatively low range in the order of units up to tens of meters. But beware, that is a long time ago.
The low range only applies in cases where the goal is the highest possible bit rate – a typical example is the transmission of sound in high quality, or synchronization of a watch. However, newer versions of the protocol are increasingly focusing on an area that their competition has taken away: the Internet of Things.
In recent years, he has preferred different and much more economical radio technologies, from Sigfox and LoRa to LTE and NB-IoT / 5G. Bluetooth has been somewhat forgotten, although in this respect in its fifth generation it is already being compared with long-distance competition.
Bluetooth 5.0 offers up to 4x higher range
Bluetooth 5.x has worked significantly on the signal range for status messages. In this case, it is not a speed in the order of Mb / s, but an occasional and economical transfer of a few bytes of data. It can be data on GPS position, data from various weather stations, smart parking lots and other areas, where it really is not a massive transfer of information per unit of time.
Bluetooth doesn’t have to transmit audio to headphones just a few meters away
Well, in these situations, Bluetooth 5.0 already offers up to a 4x increase in signal range at the expense of speed. In practice, this means that the small BT 5th box can communicate at a distance of hundreds of meters with direct visibility. Or even more.
Bluetooth transmitter with a range of many kilometers
At least according to Apptricity, a startup that specializes in the development of remote Bluetooth 5.0. Their latest I-Connect Ultra Long-Range transmitter boasts of communicating from a distance of up to 20 miles (32 kilometers!). And all this while maintaining communication on the BT 5.0 protocol. This means that the message of such a beacon will also be intercepted by a regular grain with the support of the fifth generation of Bluetooth.
The Bluetooth 5.0 beacon from Apptracity transmits up to a distance of 20 miles. It can transmit, for example, the position of the vehicle fleet on a construction site, in a quarry, etc.
Apptricity engineers boast that on the one hand they used the capabilities of BT 5.0 itself and its already mentioned configuration for remote transmission, but at the same time optimized the transmitter firmware in such a way that they extracted a range of tens of kilometers with direct visibility or permeability to several floors buildings.
The technology is awaiting a patent
And just on the sidelines, this is the specification of their civilian version of the transmitter and the technology awaiting approval by the patent office. During the demonstration for the American Pentagon, they boasted a Bluetooth 5.x beacon, whose messages could be intercepted in open space from a distance of up to 80-120 kilometers .