Have you ever heard of Bluetooth Low Energy?

–Official but easy definition of Bluetooth LE

What is Bluetooth Low Energy? It is a low-energy communication protocol designed for point-to-multipoint communication of information micro-packets. Adopted by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) as a component of Bluetooth 4.0, it is now marketed as Bluetooth Smart, primarily to be used with smart devices and wearables.

The Bluetooth 4.0 specification also includes the labels Bluetooth Classic and Bluetooth Smart Ready. Classic Bluetooth is the updated version of what was previously called Bluetooth 3.0. Bluetooth Smart Ready is a label for products like smartphones, laptops, and tablets (the hub devices in a Bluetooth connection) that have dual mode chips, which are compatible with both Classic Bluetooth and Bluetooth LE. Bluetooth Smart is a label for products with single mode chips, which operate using only Bluetooth LE technology. In most cases these are beacons, peripherals, and wearables. This means computers, smartphones, and other control devices are generally able to ‘connect’ via both Classic Bluetooth and Bluetooth LE, whereas peripherals and beacons are generally only able to connect via Bluetooth LE.

So what is the main difference between Classic Bluetooth and Bluetooth LE? As you can guess from the name, Bluetooth LE uses significantly less energy compared to Classic. Classic Bluetooth has been developed towards faster connection speed for data exchange. It was originally advanced as a way to provide a secure, robust ‘paired’ connection between devices that could then recognize and self-connect with each other when they are in proximity.

Unlike Classic, Bluetooth LE took a different approach. Not only does Bluetooth LE send a shorter data packet, it also ‘sleeps’ much more, meaning it doesn’t send out signals as often as Classic – and it has greater flexibility in setting the interval between messages. Other power-saving mechanisms have been included which will allow people to enable Bluetooth on their smartphones without worrying so much about battery life.

Since the goal of Bluetooth LE is efficiency rather than speed, it sends data much slower and often much less frequently than Classic, which inherently takes less power. It is targeted at devices with low data transfer requirements, enabling much longer battery life in these devices than what was previously possible. BLE represents not so much an advance in technology as a technology going in a different direction.

 With a focus on being ‘smart’, as the marketing so aptly puts it, BLE has opened the door to many new technological possibilities. Using less energy not only made it more realistic for people to keep Bluetooth enabled on their phones, it also made it possible to put Bluetooth LE in small devices with miniature power sources. Efficient low-bandwidth long range signaling for Smart home devices is now possible as well. These advances are very important in making the Internet of Things a reality. Though Bluetooth LE has reduced data throughput, the tradeoff is worth it when you consider the possibilities it has opened to us. What will you do with Bluetooth LE?

Developing starts here : https://developer.bluetooth.org/DevelopmentResources/Pages/Getting-Started.aspx

 

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