What is Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)?
Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) is the enhanced version of the classic Bluetooth technology. BLE is being talked about a lot in recent times within the IT and mobile industry. In recent years, high number of BLE applications has been launched in various industries such as for healthcare, smart home automation, security, retail, warehousing, advertising and etc.
BLE is energy saving compared to the classic Bluetooth and it can be used for various applications. For instance, BLE wireless protocol allows any nearby BLE compatible devices to communicate with smartphone, tablet or smartwatch to trigger the functionality in the application. For example, to lock or unlock your doors using your smartphone, monitoring your heartbeat using your smartwatch or tracking your lost items such as keys or wallet using a smartphone app.
|The difference between Classic Bluetooth and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)|
|In summary, Bluetooth and BLE are used for very different purposes. Bluetooth can handle a lot of data, but consumes battery life pretty quickly and it costs a lot more. BLE on the other hand is used for applications that do not need to exchange large amounts of data, and can therefore run on battery power for years at a cheaper cost. BLE 4.0 first hit the market in 2011, followed by BLE 4.1 in 2013 and BLE 4.2 in 2014.
BLE 4.2 provides a data rate of up to 1 Mbps while consuming just 0.01 to 0.5 watts which is one third of the speed of Bluetooth Classic and consuming half the power.
Below is a clear picture of Bluetooth comparison:
|Power Consumption||Low (less than 30 mA)||Very Low (less than 15 mA)|
|Speed||700 Kbps||1 Mbps|
|Range||<30 m||50 meters( 150 meters in open field)|
|RF Frequency Band||2400 MHz||2400 MHz|
|Frequency Channels||79 channels from 2.400 GHz to 2.4835 GHz with 1 MHz spacing||40 channels from 2402MHz to 2480 MHz (includes 3 advertising and 37 data channels)|
|Modulation||GFSK (modulation index 0.35) , π/4 DQPSK, 8DPSK||GFSK (modulation index 0.5)|
|Latency in data transfer between two devices||Approx. 100 ms||Approx. 3 ms|
|Spreading||FHSS (1MHz channel)||FHSS (2MHz channel)|
|Message Size(bytes)||358 (Max)||8 to 47|
|Error Detection/Correction||8 bit CRC(header), 16 bit CRC, 2/3 FEC(payload), ACKs||24 bit CRC, ACKs|
|Security||64b/128b, user defined application layer||128 bits AES, user defined application layer|
|Application Throughput||0.7 to 2.1 Mbps0.7 to 2.1 Mbps||less than 0.3 Mbps|
|Low energy consumption so sensors can run on coin cell batteries for more than a year|
|Low cost to implement in new products as well as existing products|
|More secure while transferring multiple data streams with encrypted connections|
|The wireless range can be optimized if necessary for any application|
|High numbers of communication nodes with limited latency requirements|
|Easy to use by scanning and connecting the BLE sensors|
|Global standard which supported by most hardware manufacturer and industries|
|Compatibility which allow multiple vendor interoperability|
|Smaller size than the classic Bluetooth to use in wearable devices.|
|Can co-exist with other types of wireless technologies|
|Can track items on a real-time basis using location intelligence|
|Can send promotional offer notifications based on in-store behavior|