For many years, Bluetooth technology has been improving the quality of life of millions of people around the world, and it has become an indispensable part of people to stay connected. The global popularity of Bluetooth has caused some misunderstandings about what the technology can and cannot do. In fact, Bluetooth technology goes far beyond the scope of personal devices, it provides support for various basic solutions such as asset tracking, indoor navigation to networked lighting control and industrial innovation. This article will explore some of the most common misunderstandings about Bluetooth technology and the facts behind these misunderstandings.
Misunderstanding 1: Bluetooth is a short-distance transmission technology
It is generally believed that Bluetooth technology is only suitable for short-distance applications, in large part because of the initial use of this technology. Since well-known applications such as audio broadcasting and wearable devices only need to meet the design requirements of shorter distances, the maximum distance that developers choose for these technologies and hardware is 10 to 30 meters.
Fact 1: The transmission distance of Bluetooth signals can reach more than one kilometer
The effective and reliable distance between Bluetooth devices can exceed one kilometer, and it can even help achieve stable remote control of out of sight (BVR) drones. Although factors such as radio frequency spectrum and transmit power, antenna gain, path loss, etc. affect the effective distance of Bluetooth technology, the variability of the distance proves the versatility of this technology. Unlike other wireless technologies, because Bluetooth can achieve a wide range of reliable distances, it provides developers with great flexibility to create precise requirements that meet their applications.
Misunderstanding 2: Interference makes Bluetooth connections unreliable
Interference is one of the biggest challenges encountered by any wireless technology to provide reliable data communication. Unlike wired data communication technology, wireless technology must share the transmission medium, and multiple devices may try to communicate on the same wireless spectrum at the same time and area. When this happens, an over-the-air collision occurs between data packets, which may make the receiving device unable to read the data packets, resulting in actual packet loss. If the data packet transmitted between two devices conflicts with the data packet transmitted at the same time and frequency between another device within range, the data packet may be damaged or lost.
Fact 2: Bluetooth technology overcomes potential interference factors by design
Bluetooth technology uses a variety of technologies to reduce the possibility of collisions and offset the inevitable loss of data packets. Two methods for Bluetooth technology to overcome potential interference factors and achieve reliable wireless data communication are to use adaptive frequency hopping and small and fast data packets.
The reliability of any wireless system is related to spectrum efficiency: shorter data packets have fewer collisions. Bluetooth data packets are usually only half the size, but the speed is four times faster. Using small and fast data packets can use the spectrum more efficiently and significantly reduce the probability of collisions.
Spread spectrum techniques can improve resilience in a busy radio environment. In a busy radio environment, conflicts and interference are more likely to occur. Self-adjusting frequency hopping is a unique spread spectrum technology that enables Bluetooth data packets to avoid active and congested channels according to the situation. Noisy and busy passages will be marked and not used. With the addition and deletion of other wireless communication devices in the environment, reliable channels and busy channels may gradually change. Self-adjusting frequency hopping enables Bluetooth technology to dynamically track the channel with the best operating conditions and find the most reliable path.
Misunderstanding 3: Bluetooth technology is only suitable for consumer applications
There is widespread misunderstanding of the commercial and industrial potential of Bluetooth technology. In the past 20 years, Bluetooth technology has created and nurtured hundreds of new global markets. The two most prevalent markets are audio broadcasting and short-distance data transmission. Although Bluetooth technology is known for promoting the connectivity of audio headsets and fitness trackers, this is only the tip of the iceberg of its full potential.
Fact 3: Bluetooth technology supports commercial and industrial sites
Developers around the world use Bluetooth technology to achieve reliable long-distance wireless connections in challenging environments. These connections are the basis for next-generation use cases such as industrial asset tracking, large-scale sensor networks, and networked lighting control.
Recently, Energy Management Collaborative (EMC), an innovative lighting solution provider in the United States, worked with Silvair and McWong International to deploy the world’s largest Bluetooth mesh network lighting control device in a 17-story office building over 43,600 square meters. A total of 3685 Bluetooth mesh network lighting controllers have been installed.
Silvair’s chief technology officer and co-founder Szymon Slupik said: “Small, fast, and efficient radio data packets lay the foundation for Bluetooth mesh networks.” SmartShepherd, an innovative technology solutions provider in Australia, cooperated with Guihua. The Bluetooth gateway and the Internet of Things access controller realize real-time tracking and monitoring of livestock. Through cooperation with Laird Connectivity, the POM Tracer contact tracking system uses Bluetooth technology to create an easy-to-use product that enables employees of enterprises and organizations to resume work safely and ease the risk of future shutdowns due to the new crown epidemic.