The Bluetooth Special Interests Group (SIG) is responsible for developing new standards for wireless technology. New versions of the Bluetooth core specifications are periodically adopted to offer a variety of benefits for developers, manufacturers, and end users. The Bluetooth 4.2 version of the core specification offers increased privacy and speed and improves Internet connectivity with devices that support it.The IP connectivity allows sensors and smart devices to connect directly to the internet. This offers advantages for automation across a range of sectors and products. With this technology, thermostats, lightbulbs, door sensors, and other products will be able to access the Internet directly, without another device. This connectivity makes Bluetooth 4.2 the foundation for the Internet of Things.

What Is Bluetooth 4.2?

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Bluetooth 4.2 is an update to the Bluetooth Core Specification. The update offers a range of important and useful features to enhance the Bluetooth Smart Technology. The use of this update offers advantages for developers and manufacturers, and an improved user experience. Bluetooth 4.2 offers smarter and faster wireless technology for the Internet of Things (IoT). This enhances the user’s ability to connect with devices, vehicles, security systems, household lighting, speaker systems, vending machines, thermostats, and other devices and machinery using Bluetooth technology.

The improved speed for bulk data transfers has made it easier for smart devices to communicate directly, without the need for a hub, such as a computer or phone, as an intermediary. The Bluetooth 4.2 core specification enables the devices to access the internet directly over the IPv6 and 6LoWPAN.

Key Features & Benefits

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Bluetooth 4.2 offers a variety of features and benefits for users. This new version offers improved internet connectivity, is faster, and uses less power than previous versions.

Enables Connectivity To The Internet Of Things

The Internet of Things is the network of devices, home appliances, vehicles, and other mechanical and electronic devices that contain software and connectivity that enable the exchange of information via the Internet. Bluetooth 4.2 offers more flexible Internet connectivity options, which extends the reach of all manner of devices. The features for Internet connectivity include a low power IP and Bluetooth Smart Internet Gateways. This allows a Bluetooth Smart sensor to access the Internet through a gateway device, giving you greater control and access to devices and equipment on your network.

Bluetooth Smart Is Now Even Smarter

Bluetooth 4.2 features LE Privacy 1.2. This industry leading privacy technology helps keep devices from being tracked. In addition, refinements have been introduced to make Bluetooth Smart devices more power efficient. This means that a location tracker can only be followed by the owner or group, while requiring less power to operate.

The update also features LE Secure connections, which is a highly secure FIPS compliant encryption that helps increase protection for confidential data. You can have greater confidence during device pairing that your information is protected by industry standard security. This means that the new version makes it more difficult to track devices through Bluetooth connections. As long as they are using version 4.2, device location cannot be tracked unless you specifically give permission. It will be impossible for Bluetooth beacons to connect to your device and track it without permission.

Increases Update Speed

Bluetooth 4.2 features an LE Data Length Extension. This makes data throughput up to 2.5 times faster with a 10x increase in packet capacity. As a result, firmware updates for Bluetooth Smart devices are up to two-and-a-half times faster and more reliable.

While the new features are useful and offer a clear advantage over prior versions, it is important to note that some new features will be available to users of older devices. For example, many Bluetooth adapters in modern devices are configured for Bluetooth 4.0. Many have been updated to use version 4.1, which offers some of the features. However, a hardware update may be required for users to take full advantage of the increases in speed and packet size offered by version 4.2.


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Does Bluetooth 4.2 Replace Bluetooth 4 Or 4.1?

No, Bluetooth 4.2 extends the functionally of the core specifications, but does not replace Bluetooth 4 or 4.1.

What Are The Benefits Of Using Bluetooth 4.2?

There are a few key features that offer improved connectivity and speed, and make the technology even smarter. In addition, manufacturers can take advantage of bug fixes that have been incorporated into the core specification.

Do Mandatory Features Need To Be Implemented For Compliance With Bluetooth 4.2?

No, unlike Bluetooth 4.1, there are no mandatory features that must be claimed for the Bluetooth 4.2 specification. However, manufacturers are required to implement errata to comply with the specification.

Is Low Energy Technology Part Of Bluetooth 4.2?

The Bluetooth Smart technology introduced in version 4.0 is present in the Bluetooth 4.2 core specification, and this includes the low energy technology. 

Are Bluetooth 4.2 Devices Backward Compatible With Current Bluetooth Devices?

Devices that implement the low energy feature in Bluetooth Smart 4.2 will be backward compatible with Bluetooth 4.0 ad 4.1 devices, which also have the low energy feature.

Has The Qualification Process Changed?

No, the qualification process for all Bluetooth specifications has not changed.

Can I Still Qualify To An Older Bluetooth Specification?

Yes, the following core specification versions are still available for use and qualification: versions 2.0, 2.1+EDR, 3.0, 4.0, and 4.1.

My Product Is Already Qualified To An Earlier Version? Do I Need to Re-Qualify It For Version 4.2?

No, products remain qualified with no need for requalification. However, you may need requalification if you are updating to the 4.2 specification.

Does Bluetooth 4.2 Feature Internet Connectivity?

Yes, Bluetooth SIG launched L2CAP dedicated channels with Bluetooth 4.1. Bluetooth 4.2 offers flexible Internet connectivity options for developers and manufacturers. There are two paths to Internet connectivity: the low power IP and Bluetooth Smart Internet Gateway.

If I Have An Application Running On The Bluetooth 4.1 Stack, Will It Work On Bluetooth 4.2?

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Yes, the Bluetooth 4.1 features are supported in the new core specification. All Bluetooth features should remained unchanged.

Should I Begin Using Bluetooth 4.2 for All My Devices?

Yes, the Bluetooth SIG recommends that manufactures begin implementing Bluetooth 4.5 to ensure that end users have an optimal experience and enjoy the many benefits of the new core specification.

Should I Use “Bluetooth 4.2” To Brand My Product?

Branding a Bluetooth enabled product with the core specification number is not recommended, since it is confusing to customers. The specification number does not show device compatibility in the future. However, it is important to use the correct brand to accurately communicate device compatibility to your customers and avoid questions about compatibility.

What Are The Requirements For Using The Bluetooth Smart And Bluetooth Smart Ready Brands?

Bluetooth Smart is for products that incorporate the Bluetooth core specification 4.0 or higher with a low energy core configuration and using the GATT based architecture to enable functionality.

Bluetooth Smart Ready is for products that incorporate the Bluetooth core specification version 4.0 with a basic rate and low energy combined core configuration and GATT based architecture so an end user can choose to update the product with the functionality of a Bluetooth Smart product.

Why Were The Bluetooth Smart And Bluetooth Smart Ready Brands Added?

The Bluetooth 4.0 low energy feature enabled new uses for the wireless technology, allowing devices powered by small batteries to connect wirelessly. This advancement resulted in an increase in the availability of Bluetooth smart devices. Those using the low energy core configuration are not compatible with devices that only use the basic rate core configuration. As a result, the Smart and Smart Ready brands were added to enable customers to determine the products that work together and avoid confusion.

How Should I Brand My Bluetooth 4.2 Enabled Device?

The correct brand to use for your product depends on the Bluetooth 4.2 features you have chosen to implement.

Bluetooth Smart should be used if you are using the low energy core configuration along with the GATT based architecture. Typically, products that are branded “Bluetooth Smart” are devices that transmit data to a hub device, such as a tablet or smartphone.

Bluetooth Smart Ready should be used if you are using the basic rate and low energy combined core configuration to provide a way for the end user to update the product with the functionality of a Bluetooth Smart product. This would be for products that are hub devices receiving data from a Bluetooth Smart device and turning on useful information through the device.

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Bluetooth should be used if you are not using the low energy feature and the GATT based architecture for specific functionality. This is usually used for products such as headsets, wireless speakers, or communication devices in vehicles.  


The Bluetooth 4.2 version of the core specification offers benefits to manufacturers, developers, and end users. The features of the new specification provide increased privacy, faster speed, and improved internet connectivity between devices that support the technology. Understanding the new features and benefits can help you get the most from your product and devices.

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