We all use Bluetooth for many things, but we do not love Bluetooth because its wireless range is not good enough. Those problems could be coming to an end after Cassia Networks set fire to CES 2016 with a new piece of equipment that promises to boost Bluetooth range up to 30 times the regular.
It's quite surprising how Bluetooth in its current form is still the best way for connecting one or more devices, going beyond the usual with a Bluetooth-connected rubber ducky and even a water-resistant Bluetooth speaker. Wi-Fi is far better at this, but it uses too much power, and the fact that almost every device supports Bluetooth clearly makes this is a no-brainer.
The main problem with Bluetooth is the fact that it can only go up to 30 feet. Sometimes even less, depending on the device one is using and the amount of barriers around the area.
Cassia Networks enters the game with its "Cassia Hub," a Bluetooth router that costs a whopping $100. However, who cares about the pricing when this handsome-looking piece of hardware can extend the range of a Bluetooth connection to up to 1,000 feet in open air. Furthermore, it can pass through up to three walls without experiencing the most common issues.
It's also similar to a Wi-Fi router in the sense that it can connect to 22 Bluetooth devices at any given time.
So what kind of sorcery is this, you ask? Well, here's the thing. The Cassia Hub does not send commands to the Bluetooth devices directly, nor does it use apps that belong to these devices. Instead, the Hub takes advantage of its own app to control everything that has been connected to it.
Here's the kicker: the app can also control your Bluetooth devices even when you're away from home because the Cassia Hub can also be connected to your Wi-Fi router.
Felix Zhao is the founder of Cassia Networks. He's also a former executive at Aruba Networks and an ex-Cisco engineer. He talks about the main things that make Cassia possible, and why the Hub is the first Bluetooth router, something we never knew we needed.
"We developed the Cassia Hub because we noticed there wasn't a universal standard of communication between the ever-growing pile of Internet-connected devices," says Zhao.
Now, while the Cassia Hub sounds great on paper, there are some limitations. For example, if you're a person who enjoys playing music from your Bluetooth speaker, you may come across issues with the Hub. You see, music playback is only supported via the Hub's app, and so far only Soundcloud and local players are supported. It means users will likely not be able to play content from YouTube. However, the company says it is in talks with Pandora and Spotify. If that works out, we suspect more music companies will be brought onboard at a later date.
At the moment, we have to say that it's still in its early days, and anything can change before the Cassia Hub becomes available for consumer consumption. It's available for preorder right now, but no release date has been revealed.