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DATA SPEEDS ARE MUCH SLOWER THAN A WI-FI NET­WORK, BUT THE USES OF THIS TECH ARE SOME­WHAT DIF­FER­ENT

Blue­tooth’s come a long way since we ‘Blue­jacked’ rude mes­sages to peo­ple on in traf­fic

and pompous busi­ness­men used it to shout things into their Jaw­bone head­sets. But it’s still very much a one-to-one deal: your phone to your Fit­bit, your mouse to your lap­top, your iPad to your head­phones.

There’s power in num­bers, though, and Blue­tooth de­vices will soon be team­ing up to do far more than you ever thought pos­si­ble. It’s called Blue­tooth Mesh and it works by con­nect­ing mul­ti­ple gad­gets to­gether, like the way a Sonos sys­tem or Google WiFi works but over Blue­tooth rather than Wi-Fi. That means the data speeds are sig­nif­i­cantly slower – a rel­a­tively snail-like 1Mbps – but the uses of this tech are some­what dif­fer­ent.

Imag­ine ev­ery ap­pli­ance in your home is part of a Blue­tooth Mesh net­work. As soon as you walk in the front door, the light in the hall de­tects the pres­ence of the phone in your pocket and switches it­self on, while 10 me­tres away the ket­tle has clocked that you’re home and started to boil. In fact, range is no longer an is­sue with a mesh net­work, be­cause each gad­get within it acts as a step­ping stone to carry the sig­nal over much longer dis­tances.

The real ben­e­fit of us­ing Blue­tooth is that it’s stan­dard­ised, so once you’ve got a net­work set up, any­thing with Blue­tooth can take ad­van­tage of it, even if it’s in an of­fice or pub­lic build­ing.

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