2.4 GHz: the Bluetooth frequency band
Let’s start with an establishing shot of the radio-frequency spectrum. At the far right you’ll find gamma rays: responsible for basic to advanced alien ray gun technology and superpower generation. Much further over in the microwave range, with a lower frequency and longer wavelength, is the 2.4 GHz frequency band, where Bluetooth operates.
Specifically, the Bluetooth band is between 2400-2483.5MHz. Signals in this range have the advantage of having a long enough wavelength to penetrate through some objects, like your coffee table, but not others, like refrigerators, metal doors, or humans. Signals in this band are widely used for wireless communication between media devices, fitness trackers, car keys, household appliances, and other non-communicative emitters, like microwave ovens.
Beginnings of Bluetooth
Bluetooth is a technology we’re all somewhat familiar with, and chances are we’ve been frustrated by it in the past, due to some early problems with pairing and keeping connections on gamepads or headsets, noticeable lag times, and not-great battery life. Members of the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (Bluetooth SIG) recognized this and in 2010 incorporated Bluetooth Smart into the Bluetooth 4.0 Core Specification.
What are the advantages of Bluetooth Smart?
Once you understand the limitations of the early versions of Bluetooth, it’s easy to see why Bluetooth Smart is such an improvement. Smart is exactly what the name implies: more intelligent and efficient. It gives you:
Is it Bluetooth Smart or Bluetooth Smart Ready?
The Bluetooth Core Specification version 4.0 (aka Bluetooth 4.0) is sometimes referred to as Bluetooth Smart, but it’s actually comprised of the Bluetooth Low Energy protocol (Bluetooth Smart), a high-speed protocol (based on WiFi) and the Bluetooth Classic protocol (for base functionality and to keep compatibility with legacy devices). If a device like a gamepad uses only the low-power Bluetooth Smart protocol stack, it’s called Bluetooth Smart, and the host device that it’s paired with (like your phone) is called Bluetooth Smart Ready. Smart Ready devices can talk to Bluetooth Smart (low energy) devices, they can also talk to the Bluetooth Classic devices you already own, and they can talk to other Bluetooth Smart Ready host devices.
What’s Good for Developers is Good for Gamers, and Bluetooth Smart is Good for Developers
Incorporating HID Over GATT into Bluetooth 4.0 has made it easier for game developers to port their games to many platforms. That means your gamepad, keyboard or mouse will work with more mobile devices in the near future, all the better to play all those newly-ported games.
GameSmart: Bluetooth Smart and Gaming
Mad Catz’ GameSmart devices were used by the Android team to test and verify the Bluetooth Smart low-latency HID over GATT Profile prior to the release of KitKat. We refined our gamepads’ Bluetooth communication timings to get the optimum data oversampling rate for deadly accuracy with no perception of lag.
C.T.R.L.R Gamepad: 7.5ms Latency
For Mad Catz’ Bluetooth Smart gamepads like the C.T.R.L.R Mobile Gamepad for Android, that means a latency as low as 7.5ms (about the same as a console controller) compared to up to 100ms for Bluetooth Classic. Since games typically poll for data every 30-50ms, you know every move you make will be received.
No Controller Lag During High-Intensity Action
Using HID Over GATT allows control data from the C.T.R.L.R to be prioritized over other data. So if you were playing an fps with the C.T.R.L.R and also wearing a Bluetooth Classic gaming headset, in-game, bandwidth-intensive audio like explosions or a gunfight wouldn’t slow down the exchange of control data to/from your gamepad, because the low-latency HOGP channel of communication with the gamepad is separated from the audio channel.
GameSmart’s Dual-Band Accessories Work With Bluetooth Classic and Bluetooth Smart Ready
As new versions of Bluetooth roll out on more and more devices, our job is to be ahead of the game, and we are. No need to trash your Bluetooth Classic accessories – we make most of our GameSmart gear to work with what you’ve got. Our M.O.U.S.9 and R.A.T.M Mobile Gaming Mice and C.T.R.L.R Mobile Gamepad for Android have the technology to work with both Bluetooth Smart Ready and Bluetooth Classic, so you’re not limited. See below for what our products support.