Over the past year CSR has implemented all of the important enhancements introduced in the Bluetooth 4.1 specification in its connectivity platforms, from single mode low energy and wireless audio platforms through to discrete connectivity products. This has allowed developers to employ the latest Bluetooth capabilities in their devices and expand their offerings to new markets.
Today, CSR has qualified a product compliant to version 4.2, which was officially adopted by the Bluetooth SIG last week. The update adds some significant improvements that further secure Bluetooth Smart’s position as a key enabling technology for the Internet of Things. But what are these updates?
Version 4.2 introduces three major updates to the specification: Low Energy data packet length extensions, Low Energy privacy upgrades and Low Energy secure connections. Let’s take a brief look at each one:
Low Energy data packet length extensions: The length of data packets transferred over Bluetooth Smart has been increased from 27 bytes to 251 bytes, which translates into maximum data rates of over 800kb/s. This allows for both the master and slave to negotiate the maximum length of packets to transmit and receive.
A larger data rate transfer means one thing – speedier downloads that are up to 2.6 times faster than previous Bluetooth versions. This is massively important for those developers looking to create devices that might require downloading large amounts of data – for example, regular firmware updates or downloading large data logs from sensors. Also, increased data transfer speeds and packet size reduce the opportunity for transmission errors to occur and lessen battery consumption, resulting in a much more efficient connection.
Low Energy privacy upgrades: For Bluetooth Smart settings to be truly private, address resolution of private devices had to be done in the host CPU. Now, address resolution is moved from the host CPU to the controller, which reduces power consumption on private devices. Bluetooth Smart chips will now only ‘wake up’ when someone designated as trusted is within a user’s proximity, which has the added bonus of lowering power consumption on the host CPU. So, to take a retail store using beacons as a real life example, unless a consumer has enabled permission for the beacon to engage with their device, they can no longer be tracked.
Low Energy secure connections: Last year’s 4.1 update introduced AES encryption to deliver more secure BR/EDR connections. The 4.2 update now completes the security upgrades by adding full public key cryptography for authentication in LE using FIPS compliant algorithms, essentially updating the authentication mechanisms to the same standard as Bluetooth Classic. With this feature, dual mode devices only need to pair once and have the same fully secure connection regardless of which mode was used to authenticate.
Today, the Bluetooth SIG will make its qualification site live – please refer to this to find out which CSR products are 4.2 qualified – but you can expect to see all CSR dual mode platforms make their way onto the list.
For any questions relating to CSR’s Bluetooth Smart products, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below.