Cassia Networks Takes the Blues Out of Long-Range Bluetooth Connectivity
By Darryl Wilkinson • Posted: Jan 8, 2016
Cassia Networks demonstrated what the company is calling, “the world’s first Bluetooth router which uses a new enabling technology that redefines what’s possible with Bluetooth.” The word router isn’t one that’s normally heard in association with Bluetooth. Nor is the term “long-range”. (I’ve used another choice term or two when talking about Bluetooth, but we’ll leave those unsaid for the moment.)The Cassia Hub is a white, 7.75-inch tall, cylindrical device that, based on looks alone, could be any one of a hundred different routers, Bluetooth speakers, personal weather stations, or fancy LED candles that are vying for your attention in stores and on websites. But that’s not what the Cassia Hub is. In fact, it’s much more impressive than almost any device from any of those categories that I’ve seen so far. (Yes, even more impressive than a giant, oversized—and overpriced—LED candle from the local craft store.)
For starters, the Cassia Hub is a Bluetooth router capable of networking and controlling up to 22 Bluetooth devices. Just as interesting, the Cassia Hub extends the range of Bluetooth connections up to 1,000 feet in line-of-site situations, which Cassia Networks says is 30 times more than the standard operating range of typical consumer Bluetooth devices. Although the range is diminished inside homes or other buildings, the Cassia Hub is touted to be able to penetrate up to three interior walls in order to communicate and relay messages between Bluetooth devices located in different rooms.
The Cassia Hub does not require modification or configuration of connected devices and is compatible with Bluetooth 4.0 (BLE and Classic) with full backwards-compatibility. This connectivity extends (pardon the pun) to smartphones, tablets, speakers, fitness trackers, headphones, smartwatches, lights, locks, and more. Cassia Networks says that users who own a Cassia Hub can “stream music wirelessly from popular streaming services as well as local content on their phone throughout the house using Bluetooth speakers they already own much like competing multi-room wireless speaker systems that sell for hundreds more.” That may be an unfair comparison, of course, because Bluetooth isn’t as good as Wi-Fi or Ethernet for transmitting high-resolution audio.
The Cassia Hub’s additional connectivity includes Wi-Fi (2.4 GHz), Ethernet (10/100), and USB 2.0. Cassia Networks intends to offer several accessories for use with the Cassia Hub, including a Bluetooth 2.1 stereo speaker ($79), a Bluetooth multi-color LED lightbulb ($30), a Bluetooth smart plug ($30), and a personal safety sensor ($100). The Cassia Hub is available for pre-order now for $99.99.