Bluetooth was introduced in 1994 and updated on an almost yearly basis since then. Each new version receives a version number. The update includes improvements to its predecessor.
Bluetooth is still the number one short-range wireless technology for connecting devices. It also can transfer information between devices. This might be photos, text messages, and audio files.
What’s Different About Bluetooth 5.2?
- Enhanced Attribute Protocol(EATT)- This is an upgraded way that the Bluetooth connection transfers data between a server and a client. In this case, you can think of the phone as the client and the earbuds as the server.
- Low Energy Power Control(LEPC)- This allows a Bluetooth connection to have better signal quality and decrease interference from other signals.
- Isochronous Channels- This allows for multi-stream audio and broadcast audio, which will be discussed in greater detail later. Read on to learn how you can use these features to maximize your Bluetooth experience.
How Can You Use the Enhanced Attribute Protocol?
This protocol is the set of rules that control how information travels between two or more devices. The new upgrade to the set of rules allows you to have audio from two apps play at the same time. This new protocol also will also likely reduce the latency of your Bluetooth devices.
However, the enhanced attribute protocol is an optional feature dependent on whether or not the manufacturer of a device or specification wants to implement it. This means it is likely that not all Bluetooth 5.2 devices will have this Enhanced Attribute Protocol.
What You Need to Know about LEPC?
The Low Energy Power Control (LEPC) feature allows your paired Bluetooth devices to keep tabs on the distance between each other. It is important that your Bluetooth devices monitor each others’ location because the distance is what determines the best transmit power level. To put it simply, this function allows the Bluetooth devices to have a better signal quality due to the way Bluetooth 5.2 allows devices to monitor distance.
But wait, there is more! This technology also helps reduce feedback and other errors for your Bluetooth devices. It also lowers the chance of interference from other Bluetooth connections or WiFi connections. This is also due to the LEPC and the ability for a paired device to know its distance from the other device.
How Will You Be Able to Use Isochronous Channels?
Isochronous Channels is a feature that has a complicated name, but isochronous just means that it is something happening simultaneously.
One form of Isochronous Channels is the ability to connect multiple earbuds to a single hosting, or central device. Traditionally, a single stream is connected to an earbud and the connection from that earbud would be relayed to the second earbud. This meant that in order to use one earbud at a time, you would have to pair a specific earbud separately.
Now, you will simply be able to put either earbud away and the connection would be maintained. Since each device is paired separately, but simultaneously, you won’t need to worry about which earbud is the one you need to keep in your ear.
This will also allow a better movie-watching experience because you will be able to hear left and right audio signals separately. This could also allow for future improvements to voice assistance while using true wireless earbuds.
In addition to multi-stream audio, Bluetooth 5.2 introduces Broadcast Audio. Broadcast Audio allows a single Bluetooth source device to broadcast to a number of receiving devices. This means you will be able to listen to your favorite songs with your significant other with matching headsets. Or, perhaps you want to have multiple speakers at a party playing the same song, so no matter which room you are in you can keep dancing.
There are some additional uses that we might eventually see. Your grandpa could, in theory, connect his hearing aid to the TV at your favorite sports bar. Perhaps one TV could broadcast audio in a second language. We will have to see which uses become commonplace, but the technology is impressive at any rate.
What is Low Energy Audio and Why Does It Matter?
Low Energy Audio is being touted as the next generation of Bluetooth. LE Audio is the standard for audio transmission and it is separate from the existing Bluetooth transmission techniques which is now called Classic Audio.
Energy Consumption & the New Codec
A codec is another term that might leave you scratching your head. An audio codec is the program that the Bluetooth device uses to code and decode the audio data. Did that not help? In order to transfer your music from your phone to your earbuds the music, as data, needs to be made smaller and then it can be transferred.
LE Audio introduces a new codec called LC3. This codec allows you to have an extended battery life on your device without giving up high-quality music.
Same Specs Work Better Together
One thing to remember is that codecs work best when both devices have the same codec. A device using an SBC codec might be able to work with a device that has an aptX codec. But, the audio will not be as good as it would be if the codecs in both devices were aptX. If you want to learn more about codecs, you can check out our guide on TWS earbuds.
This is also true about the versions of Bluetooth. Your Bluetooth 5.2 phone can still work with your Bluetooth 5.0 earbuds, but you won’t get the full range of LE Audio features. If you want to learn, the Bluetooth website has a helpful FAQ.
LE Audio is a blanket term that includes the new features and the new LC3 codec. While most of these advancements will improve the battery life of your devices, there are some bonuses as well. If your Bluetooth 5.2 devices fully adopt all available features, you will be able to listen to multiple apps at the same time, have a stronger connection between your devices, be able to broadcast a single to multiple devices, and have earbuds with Multi-Stream connections instead of a single stream.