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Understanding Bluetooth Speed and Ways to Improve

Bluetooth wireless technology has been around since 1994 and it allows devices to communicate directly with each other over short distances. Invented by Ericsson, there are nearly 8 billion Bluetooth devices in use today. It is commonly used for transferring files, such as photos and documents, between devices. As useful as Bluetooth is, many users complain about the slow Bluetooth speeds. In this post, let’s look at the reasons behind this slow transfer speed and see if it can be improved.

Why is Bluetooth Transfer so Slow?

Before we can improve our Bluetooth transfer speed, let’s look at the factors that determine how fast data gets transferred over Bluetooth:

Bluetooth Standard: One of the crucial factors when it comes to Bluetooth speed is which Bluetooth standard is being used. The latest Bluetooth 5.2 standard is almost 7 times faster than the older Bluetooth 4.2 standard.

Distance: Bluetooth speed decreases as the distance between the devices increases. Bluetooth has a range of about 10 meters (33 feet), and you will notice that the transfer speed decreases as you move the devices apart.

Interference: Other electronic devices, such as cordless phones, laptops, and routers, can interfere with the Bluetooth signal and cause a drop in the transfer speed. Physical objects like doors and walls can also interfere with the Bluetooth signal. Pay particular attention to metal objects as they are particularly effective at blocking Bluetooth signals.

How Fast is Bluetooth in Mbps?

Now, let’s turn our attention to how our Bluetooth transfer speeds should be. Here’s a rough estimate of the transfer speed of each Bluetooth standard:

Bluetooth StandardTransfer Speed
Bluetooth 5.2Up to 2 Mbps
Bluetooth 5.0Up to 1 Mbps
Bluetooth 4.2Up to 0.3 Mbps
Transfer speeds of different Bluetooth standards

These are theoretical maximums but your actual transfer speed might be slower due to the factors mentioned above.

Can I Speed Up Bluetooth Transfer?

There are measures you can take to speed up Bluetooth transfers

There are a couple of ways to improve your Bluetooth transfer speed:

Use the latest Bluetooth standard: As mentioned, the latest Bluetooth standard is faster than the previous ones. You can’t upgrade your existing Bluetooth devices to use the latest standard as they’re hardware features. That being said, by changing your device to one that uses the latest Bluetooth standard can improve the transfer speed.

Keep the devices close together: As mentioned, Bluetooth transfer speed decreases as the distance between the devices increases. Keep the devices close together to help improve the transfer speed and reduce the physical obstacles.

Turn off other electronic devices: Other electronic devices can interfere with the Bluetooth signal and reduce the transfer speed. This includes other Bluetooth connected devices and Wi-Fi in the 2.4 GHz band. By turning off these devices, you can help to improve the Bluetooth transfer speed.

Use a file transfer app: Strictly speaking, this doesn’t improve your Bluetooth transfer speed but it does make your file transfers faster. These file transfer apps compress your files before transferring them, which helps to speed up the process.

Is Bluetooth or Wi-Fi Faster?

Wi-Fi transfer speeds are significantly faster than Bluetooth’s

If you need really fast transfer speeds or have to transfer a large file between devices, Wi-Fi Direct might be a better option than Bluetooth. Wi-Fi is usually faster than Bluetooth for transferring files. For example, the latest Wi-Fi 6 standard has a theoretical maximum transfer speed of 9.6 Gbps, which is significantly faster than the 2 Mbps of Bluetooth 5.2.

Bluetooth File Transfer Size on Android

Another consideration when using Bluetooth is that there is a limitation on the file size that you can transfer. Assuming that the Device’s memory isn’t a bottleneck, Bluetooth 5.2 on Android allows for files up to 4 GB in size to be transferred.

If you wish to transfer files larger than 4 GB on Android, you will need to either split them up in order to use Bluetooth or you could just use Wi-Fi Direct instead.

Summary and Final Thoughts:

Bluetooth remains a convenient way to transfer files directly between devices without them having to join a common Wi-Fi network. It isn’t the fastest means of transferring files and factors such as the Bluetooth standard, distance between devices and interference (both physical and electronic) can reduce the Bluetooth transfer speed even further.

By using devices that support the latest Bluetooth standard, keeping the devices as close together as possible and turning off other electronic devices, you can achieve the optimal Bluetooth transfer speed. If that’s still too slow, consider using Wi-Fi Direct for faster transfer speeds using Wi-Fi.

A software engineer, I have a strong interest in technology, bot software and hardware. Blogging is a way to share what I have learned and hopefully people will find it useful.