Bluetooth 5, the latest version of the Bluetooth wireless technology core specification adopted by the Bluetooth SIG in December 2016, introduces longer range and throughput improvements that drastically enhance Bluetooth wireless technology’s suitability for smart home, wearables and IoT applications. This includes support for more device and node connections, plus half-the-time for firmware updates compared to Bluetooth 4.2.

Nordic Semiconductor has announced the availability of Bluetooth 5 software stacks and a Bluetooth 5 SDK that offers its customers the ability to build applications utilising the features of Nordic’s latest Bluetooth 5-ready nRF52840 SoC with the enhanced range and data throughput options delivered by Bluetooth 5. Software support is also provided for Nordic’s nRF52832 SoC for Bluetooth 5’s high speed (2Mbps) throughput feature.

This means Nordic Semiconductor’s customers using Nordic Bluetooth low energy wireless technology can now build new Bluetooth 5 applications.

The Nordic Semiconductor Bluetooth 5 developer solution for its nRF52840 SoC comprises of the Nordic S140 v5.0-alpha multi-role, concurrent protocol stack that brings Bluetooth 5’s long range and high throughput modes for immediate use to developers on the nRF52840 SoC. The Nordic nRF5 SDK v13.0-alpha offers application examples that implement this long range and high throughput functionality. The existing nRF52832 SoC is also now complemented with a Bluetooth 5 protocol stack, the Nordic S132 v5.0-alpha, that enables development using the new 2Mbps high throughput mode, in addition to offering the capacity for up to 20 concurrent links.

Bluetooth 5’s high throughput mode offers not only use cases for wearables and other applications, but will also significantly improve the user-experience with Bluetooth products. Time-on-air will be reduced, typically leading to faster more robust communication, as well as reduced overall power consumption. Also with 2Mbps the prospect of audio over Bluetooth low energy begins to beckon and whilst at this time not a part of the specification, it is a very exciting prospect that could support real-time audio using Bluetooth low energy into products.