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Bluetooth Smart Powering the Internet of Things

by Varun Merchant

When the IEEE Consumer Electronics Society visited Tektronix to deliver a talk in early March, the emphasis was on connecting Bluetooth Smart to the Cloud – and for good reason. Bluetooth Smart, also known as Bluetooth Low Energy, offers a Wireless Personal Area Network technology standard that is expected to be supported by over 90% of all Bluetooth enabled devices by 2018.

With the number of Internet-connected devices increasing rapidly – and Bluetooth Smart is likely to speed up adoption rates even more -- the IPv4 address space is becoming insufficient. This makes it imperative for cloud connectivity to extend to the most recent version of the Internet Protocol, IPv6. It makes sense, of course, that Bluetooth Smart includes comprehensive support for IPv6. Adoption of IPv6 has been slow in coming, but Bluetooth Smart and the Internet of Things (IoT) may change all that.

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Home network system diagram representing Bluetooth Smart connectivity to the internet

With Bluetooth Smart, cloud-connected devices are lower cost, able to run on lower power and can operate continuously for months or even years. This technology is expected to serve many application areas including home automation, healthcare, utilities and wearables. That said, 6LoBLTE (the new acronym for Bluetooth Smart) does come with challenges related to IPv6 connectivity, limited packet size and security to name a few. Given these connectivity and transmission challenges, module design and integration will require special attention.

Quick and easy Bluetooth debug solutions aren’t widespread, and the ones that exist come at a hefty price. Whether you’re making transmitter compliance measurements, integrating a module, or validating the functionality of reference designs, Tektronix’s SignalVu-PC Bluetooth Analysis software is an affordable and easy to use solution. With this application, you can:

  • Quickly check pass/fail on compliance testing
  • Identify connectivity issues via packet field decoding at the symbol level
  • Cross-correlate compliance measurements between time and frequency domains

I recommend exploring the datasheet for SignalVu-PC and then ordering your personal copy of our handy Bluetooth Poster. This poster summarizes information on Basic Rate, Low Energy and Enhanced Data Rate Physical Layer characteristics. Get ahead, and stay connected!

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