Bluetooth link quality is low (10%)

I have connected my Sony WH-1000XM3 headphones to my system, using the TP-Link UB500 bluetooth adapter (my motherboard doesn’t support Bluetooth). When I move for a few meters, the audio quality drops significantly and even just goes silent.

I have checked a few forum posts and I have concluded that it’s due to the connection quality, as I have selected the A2DP configuration.

When running bluemon, I see that the link quality is 10%, which is very low. How can I change this ?

Here are some screenshots. The first device in bluemon are my headphones, and the second one is a mouse.

I don’t think you can:

BLUETOOTH wireless technology is a short-range wireless technology that enables wireless data communication between digital devices, such as a computer and digital camera. BLUETOOTH wireless technology operates within a range of about 10 m (30 feet).

( Help Guide | What is BLUETOOTH wireless technology? )

And just like normal Wifi, the signal becomes weaker and worse the further you move from the source…

EM waves are easily blocked / reflected by anything metal - even thermal window coating, btw.
If the USB port is on the backside of a computer case you could use an extension cord to give the dongle a better place. :man_shrugging:
Or use a different dongle - one which is physically bigger. The assumption here is, that the antenna inside is also bigger and gets you a better connection.

The 10% quality is present when I’m in direct proximity (and line of sight) of the dongle. I put the dongle on the front panel of the desktop, and other bluetooth devices (e.g. smartphone) can handle that range easily. The problems arise at <5m

Depending on the version of bluetooth in use, this can be much shorter. As sort as 3ft (less than 1m) if I remember correctly.

I’m afraid the bandwidth you are experiencing is simply a reflection of the quality of your particular environment; and not something you can magically improve much by flicking a switch, or editing configuration.

Something you might give consideration to is; how much do other devices sharing the bandwidth of that adapter affect the overall quality; etc. If no other devices are affecting it, you might well be stuck with it, more or less. Cheers.

There are so many things that can affect Bluetooth audio that all we can do is guess. Are you using 2.4G Wifi? That can cause interference. So can other bluetooth devices, USB 3.0 devices, etc.

Try, in particular the sections “Audio devices start to skip at short distance from dongle” and “Interference between headphones and mouse”.

Aside:- Philosophically speaking, the same issue arises when using physical cables; I can’t remember ever buying headphones with cables that were truly long enough for typical usage; unless I paid a premium price, and bought a cable separately. :headphones:

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You can try moving anything that might be getting in the way, metal etc, and reducing interference from other sources. As others have said, move the adapter to a better position.

You can get adapters with long antennas, like on a router. Search for “long range bluetooth adapter”.

Allegedly bluetooth 5.3 has a longer range (20m v 10m) and gives better battery life, unfortunately your headphones are 4.2 so that probably won’t help much without a new pair.

They seem to be quite expensive.
Which cannot be said about this particular bluetooth adapter. :face_with_peeking_eye:

It claims to be supporting standards 5.0 and V4.0/3.0/2.1/2.0/1.1
4.2 is not explicitly mentioned, but the implication is that this is (well) supported as well.

… maybe it isn’t :wink:

It may also be a driver issue - if you want to look into that you’d need to get that info.
inxi -Fazy
will have it among all the rest of system info