When and how was Bluetooth invented

Bluetooth: Everything you need to know about the popular radio standard

In mid-1999, Bluetooth 1.0a the first version of the new radio standard with a data transfer rate of 732.2 kbit / s at the time. However, like its successor 1.0b, it struggled with some initial flaws and security issues. First Bluetooth 1.1 (Early 2001) formed a solid Foundation for marketable products. Since then, the system has been continuously developed and improved, with particular attention being paid to security, interference resistance and connection speed.

The result is one Variety of Bluetooth versionsthat build on each other and differ primarily in their maximum possible data transmission rate, but also in their functionality and their area of ​​application.

Bluetooth version


Max. Data rate

Most important innovations

Bluetooth 1.0a

July 1999

732.2 kbit / s

First official version

Bluetooth 1.0b

December 1999

732.2 kbit / s

General improvements

Bluetooth 1.1

February 2001

732.2 kbit / s

Fixed connectivity and security issues; first marketable product version; Encryption; up to seven connections at the same time

Bluetooth 1.2

November 2003

1 Mbit / s

Backward compatibility with Bluetooth 1.1; less sensitive to interference thanks to AFH (Adaptive Frequency Hopping)

Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR

November 2004

2.1 Mbit / s

Triple data rates possible thanks to EDR (Enhanced Data Rate); various methods of energy saving; additional use of NFC (Near Field Communication) when pairing

Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR

August 2007

2.1 Mbit / s

Automatic connection without a PIN thanks to Secure Simple Pairing

Bluetooth 3.0 + HS

April 2009

24 Mbit / s

Additional high-speed channel (HS) based on WLAN and UWB (ultra broadband)

Bluetooth 4.0 LE (also: Bluetooth SMART)

December 2009

24 Mbit / s

Protocol stack Low Energy (LE) for various energy-saving processes (e.g. GATT profile) for small devices; improved error correction; 128-bit encryption

Bluetooth 4.1

December 2013

25 Mbit / s

Small devices no longer need an intermediary; IPv6

Bluetooth 4.2

December 2014

25 Mbit / s

General improvements

Bluetooth 5

December 2016

50 Mbit / s

Significant increase in range and data rate


There are now over ten Bluetooth versions, all of which with the exception of the energy-saving 4.0 LE version compatible with each other are. Versions older than Bluetooth 3.0 are rarely found in practice.

After some users and experts at times spoke of Bluetooth as a “sinking star”, version 4.0 LE revitalized the technology. With the help of the low-energy protocol stack, unprecedented energy savings were possible, thanks to which Bluetooth could also be used on small devices such as smartwatches, electronic door locks and intelligent lightbulbs. Since then, the radio standard, which is almost 20 years old, has been one of the most important driving forces behind the Internet of Things (IoT).

Version 4.1 it now allows micro devices, too without an "intermediary" communicate with other devices. A fitness bracelet can control a heart rate monitor directly without having to go via a smartphone. Another innovation is the support of IPv6, which means that every Bluetooth-enabled IoT device has its own IP address, which its user can use to control it from the Internet. As technical peak so far, however, was the Version 4.2, which is characterized by smaller data packets as well as higher speed, longer battery life and more security.

But that is not the end of the story either: In December 2016, SIG brought the long-awaited Bluetooth 5 out that continues specialized in IoT devices and has improved again in every respect compared to its predecessor. With a consistently low energy consumption, a Broadcasting capacity increased by 800 percent as Ranges of up to 200 meters (outside) or 40 meters (inside). This should also contribute to the development of the so-called Beacons to push ahead. These are small Bluetooth transmitters that z. B. be used in museums to send additional information to the smartphones of visitors.

The number of devices that support the new version is currently still quite manageable - but some experts are already treating Bluetooth 5 as a "technical milestone" that (at least in the IoT area) could even overtake WLAN.