Bluetooth Low Energy or BLE, it’s marketed as Bluetooth smart designed & marketed by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group to support a wide range of application areas which include healthcare, fitness, beacons, security & home entertainment industries. BLE is a wireless personal area network technology aimed to provide considerably less power consumption in lower implementation cost.
Bluetooth smart uses 2.4GHz radio frequencies as classic Bluetooth & a single radio antenna can be shared by dual-mode devices. According to applications range of the radio can be optimized. The manufacturer can optimize range to 200 feet and beyond with Bluetooth smart, octet especially in home automation applications where longer range is required.
Bluetooth Smart features:
2 types of implementation supported by Bluetooth Core Specification
Data Transfer: Bluetooth Smart supports minim octets to maximum 27 octets transfer at the speed of 100 Kbps to 1 Mbps.
Frequency Hopping: It uses the adaptive frequency hopping common to all versions of Bluetooth technology to minimize interference from other technologies in the 2.4 GHz ISM Band.
Host Control: The significant amount of intelligence in the controller allows the host to sleep for
Robustness: periods of time until host needs to perform some action.
Latency: Bluetooth Smart helps to setup connection and data transfer as low as 3ms. Application forms a connection and then transfers authenticated data in few milliseconds for a short communication burst before closing the connection. BLE uses a strong 24 bit CRC on all packets to ensure the robustness against interference.
Security: AES-128 encryption using CCM to provide robust encryption & authentication to data packets.
Topology: BLE uses a 32 bit access address on every packet for each slave, allowing billions of devices to be connected.
Range: Possible range of over 100 meters due to increased modulation index.
Mobile Devices Compatibility: All android devices above android 4.3 and all iOS devices above iPhone-4s support BLE. BLE availability on mobile devices has been a game changer. It got all the fitness bands, healthcare devices very close to users where users can just pair their smart devices to their smart phones. Hence users can access all the data at their fingertips using their mobile apps. Smart watches are a recent addition to devices which connect to mobile app using BLE. Apple and Google are making their BLE Stack and SDK better and better. This will help device manufacturers build high quality devices and developers build high quality apps interacting with those devices. Also Apple has removed the need for MFi certification for devices interacting with iPhone using BLE.