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I would like to develop a wearable with a BLE5 module. I wonder if this module would work with any BLE4 enabled mobile phone? I am aware with that it may not use the advantages of BLE5, but I don't want to develop something that will not be used for a while. I read a similar question for BLE4.1/BLE4.0 compatibility, and answer was yes. However I am not sure about major version number changes are also backward compatible. Do you have any experience with that?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ -1 for no efforts shown. mouser.com/pdfdocs/bluetooth-5-faq.pdf. \$\endgroup\$ – MaNyYaCk Oct 30 '18 at 12:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ I have checked that but the concern was not on central/mobile device side, I was wondering what happens if I develop a wearable using BLE5 features like 4x range. Can I still connect to BLE4 phone? \$\endgroup\$ – Gultekin Nov 7 '18 at 14:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ Hi @MaNyYaCk Questions like "Will Bluetooth 5.0 devices be backward compatible with current Bluetooth devices in the marketplace?" doesn't answer my question? I would prefer someone with experience not the one searching on the net to answer this question. \$\endgroup\$ – Gultekin Nov 7 '18 at 14:45
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Yes, as long as you are not using the one of the new Bluetooth 5 features (2xSpeed, 4xRange, or LE Advertising Extensions), then your wearable will work with Bluetooth 4.x devices.

P.S. You will probably be using GATT for exchanging data; i.e. your wearable will be the GATT server hosting a GATT table for remote phones/tablets/PCs (GATT clients) to read the data from. Familiarise yourself with these terms before starting your project :-)

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you @yousif-saeed. I have worked with BLE4 peripherals/Gat Servers in my previous projects. Is there any way to decide on using BLE 5 features after connecting to the peripheral? For example, (I want to use 4xRange feature if the central/GATT client is BLE enabled.) \$\endgroup\$ – Gultekin Nov 7 '18 at 12:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm not aware of one, but I didn't see any with the devices I worked with. Please note that there are many Bluetooth 5 devices that don't support the 4xRange feature. This is because 4xRange requires a hardware change, whereas other BT5 features only require a software change. Therefore many BT4.2 updated their SW to support Bluetooth 5, but only those that updated the hardware as well can support 4xRange. \$\endgroup\$ – Youssif Saeed Nov 7 '18 at 20:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you @yousif The main purpose I am asked to this thread is that I would like to use a module with 4xRange. I was wondering if this couse to a limitation for old devices. I would like to use 4xRange feature with supported mobiles and standard range with others. \$\endgroup\$ – Gultekin Nov 9 '18 at 7:29
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Easy answer:
BLE 5 is backwards compatible with the current versions.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you Mike I know this from the specs but no specs mentions whether it is valid for both peripheral and centrals. I know that a BLE5 phone can connect to a BLE4 or BLE5 devices. I was asking if the other way is also true. I believe @yousif-saeed 's answer is correct since I souldn't work if I use ny of the BLE5 features. \$\endgroup\$ – Gultekin Nov 7 '18 at 13:39

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