Bluetooth 2.1 Formally Announced

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The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) has announced the details of a new version of its short-range wireless networking standard.

Bluetooth

Bluetooth Core Specification Version 2.1 + EDR (Enhanced Data Rate) will soon be ready for members to develop products that take advantage of numerous enhancements. 

The new version of the specification adds:

  • Improved Pairing — Makes the initial connection of Bluetooth devices easier for all users by reducing the number of steps in the pairing process.
  • Lower Power Consumption — Further reduces the power consumption in many scenarios to increase the battery life of devices like mice and keyboards by up to five times.

Improved Pairing

The improved pairing process in Bluetooth 2.1 reduces the steps for the user, improves the security, and establishes the connection in only a few seconds. 

It will no longer be necessary for the user to come up with a personal identification number (PIN) to create a secure connection.  Instead, users achieve the effective encryption strength of a 16-digit alphanumeric code without any user interaction. 

For example, pairing a Bluetooth headset and mobile phone will involve only turning on the headset, selecting “Add Headset” from the phone menu, and then watching the phone confirm it has found, connected with an encrypted link, and paired the headset. 

Near Field Communication (NFC) technology may also be used in the new pairing system, allowing a user to hold two devices together at a very short range to start the quick pairing process.

Next Steps

The Bluetooth SIG Working Groups are currently integrating improved pairing and other specification features into the Bluetooth profiles. 

All devices with Bluetooth Version 2.1 + EDR will be backwards compatible with all earlier Bluetooth specifications and will support pairing techniques employed by devices without the improved pairing feature.

In adition, the Bluetooth SIG is continuing its work with the WiMedia Alliance to incorporate Ultra-Wideband technology into the next version of the specification.

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