Difference Between Bluetooth 4.1 and 4.2: A Short History of Bluetooth

Bluetooth is one of the coolest techs that we use in the twenty-first century, after the internet. 

From hands-free calling inside your car to connecting your air conditioners in a home system, Bluetooth has evolved a lot in the few decades since it was first invented. 

If you trace this development, it gives you the evolutionary history of a major tech that we can’t live without these days. 

That’s why we are talking about it in this article, with particular emphasis on the difference between Bluetooth 4.1 and 4.2.

Let’s find out more.

Origins of Bluetooth

In 1998, a Special Interest Group, or SIG, decided to collaborate on this revolutionary new technology. By the next two years, they had rolled out its first version on a mobile phone, and it went leaps and bounds after that. 

By 2004, when the next version was introduced, Bluetooth was already in the car’s hands-free phone system and medical equipment. It had become ever-present in office spaces where it linked laptops, printers, and computer accessories. 

Before the next version came out, there were Bluetooth linked TVs, watches, and even sunglasses. 

Even though each updated version saw an increase in connection speed, data transmission rates were still a problem. There was also too much power consumption. To rectify these, a low energy version called Bluetooth Smart (BT v.4.0) came out in 2010.

With lower power consumption, by this time, the battery life of Bluetooth devices increased significantly. But speed was not on par with the times because Bluetooth couldn’t connect to the 4G LTE network

Bluetooth 4.1

Launched in 2013, Bluetooth 4.1 offered some significant changes to the previous version. 

The first improvement was the LTE support that increased data exchange rates. This was made possible by programming Bluetooth’s radio to coordinate with 4G, ensuring the smooth functioning of both. 

As there were no overlaps between these two transmission techs, BT 4.1 came with increased data exchange. 

Secondly, bulk transmission of data was possible. You could send and receive more with increased speed, and the improved version guaranteed greater management of device power. 

And thirdly, Bluetooth 4.1 introduced multiple roles for the connected devices. This meant that in a system of two or more devices, there were more than one hub and endpoints. 

That is, more devices could transmit data simultaneously, to more than one device in the system.

Bluetooth 4.2 

Internet of Things is a concept that we have become familiar with, and it all started here, with this update. In 2014, Bluetooth 4.2 was launched, with increased security and better connectivity. 

The new features were these:

  • Internet Protocol Support Profile: For the smart devices at home, separate IP addresses were possible with this version. They could connect to the internet separately, without a server connecting them together. 
  • Low Energy Data Packet Extension: This ensured better data transmission while keeping battery consumption low. The data packet capacity increased 10 times that of the previous version. 
  • Link Layer Privacy: With this, the user addresses were protected by the white-listing of private addresses at the controller level. 
  • Low Energy Secure Connections: Industrial grade high-level security was provided by the Elliptic Curve Cryptography when devices were connected via Bluetooth 4.2.

Wrap Up–The Future is Here

We hope this helped you to see the major differences between Bluetooth 4.1 and 4.2.

As technology expands in leaps and bounds over each passing year, we can expect revolutions to come our way in the next decade. 

Bluetooth technology, for instance, is still a toddler. At just a mere 5 versions at the time of this post, it still has a way to go. 

And yet, we now seem surrounded by Bluetooth, don’t we? Let’s wait for the next revolutionary upgrade, which is sure to exceed our expectations!

Vitaly Fedorov

Vitaly Fedorov is a seasoned audio technician and writer. After spending ten years in a studio team, I have decided to spread my knowledge to people in this domain. On this site, I work for headphone fixing or repair issues, that you’re thinking about fixing. Click on any article on my site and read the complete answer about that issue. I am excited to read your feedback.

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