Bluetooth 4.2 beefs up connectivity, security for the Internet of things


— 9:14 AM on December 4, 2014

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group has updated its wireless connectivity specification with new provisions aimed at the Internet of things. Most of the additions apply to Bluetooth Smart, otherwise known as Bluetooth LE, which is a low-power version of the technology designed for everything from fitness trackers to home electronics.

Internet connectivity is the big-ticket item for Bluetooth 4.2. Compatible devices will be able to connect through a low-power IPv6 implementation or via Bluetooth Smart gateways. The IP route will be available this month, but gateway details aren't due until early next year.

Security enhancements are also part of the update. Bluetooth 4.2 includes FIPS-compliant encryption for smart locks and other devices. It also has new privacy options that can restrict location tracking to a device's owner or to trusted users.

Devices that adopt the new spec will be able to take advantage of power-saving "refinements." They should have higher transfer rates, too. Bluetooth 4.2 increases the packet capacity by 10X, which is claimed to improve throughput by 2.5X.

The full details of the Bluetooth 4.2 standard are available here (PDF). That document is over 2700 pages long, so you might want to start with the much shorter FAQ (PDF).

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