Bluetooth Modules

A hand holding an abstract, digital Bluetooth symbol.

Standard for Short-Range Wireless Data Transfer

Bluetooth is a standard for short-range wireless data transfer between devices. Bluetooth forms an interface by which mobile devices such as mobile telephones and tablets as well as computers and peripherals can communicate with one another. The main purpose of Bluetooth is to replace cable connections between the devices. Bluetooth operates in a licence-free ISM band between 2,402 GHz and 2,480 GHz, and it can be used all over the world without approval being needed.

Bluetooth is currently available in the version 4.x. Up to 3.x there was no extra Low Power extension, but now there is indeed a Low Power extension in the form of Bluetooth LE (part of Bluetooth 4.0). Apart from the advantageously low current consumption, there are also limitations with Bluetooth LE. The range is limited to about 10 meters, for example, and the maximum data rate is restricted to 1Mbit/s.

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Increased Range Thanks to Bluetooth 5

With the Bluetooth 5 standard, the range for BLE was increased by a factor of four and the data rate doubled to 2Mbit/s. Due to better error correction, ranges of 100 meters at 128 Kbit/s are possible, in "long-range mode" even up to 1.5km. The Bluetooth mesh standard was also introduced with which up to 32,767 nodes can be connected via 127 hops - the limit is determined by the memory capacity of the module/IC used. A direction finding function in version 5.1 of the Bluetooth Core specification should allow positioning with an accuracy of >10cm. For this purpose, however, the HW effort is considerable (a large number of antennas and RF front-end per module are required).

Nowadays there is actually a Bluetooth interface in every smartphone, tablet and notebook, which means that this could be used, with the appropriate APP, as a display instrument for different operating modes of an application. This in turn means that there is a strong trend on the market today towards the use of Bluetooth interfaces in every type of application.


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