Bluetooth Rolls Out Mesh Networking

Barsaba Taglieri
Luglio 19, 2017

"By adding support for mesh networking, the Bluetooth member community is continuing a long history of focused innovation to help new, up-and-coming markets flourish", said Mark Powell, executive director for Bluetooth SIG.

The Bluetooth mesh networking specifications, as well as the tools required to qualify Bluetooth products with mesh networking support, are now available at the Bluetooth website.

As a general consumer, many know Bluetooth as a wireless technology that connects many accessories like wireless headphones, fitness trackers, keyboards, Mouse, and many other peripherals - often placed at a distance not more than 33 feet away. Well, it won't replace your good old WiFi as it operates at a comparatively slower 1Mbps.

For example, the technology is suited for building automation, sensor networks and other potential IoT systems where tens, hundreds, or thousands of devices need to reliably and securely communicate with one another.

The SIG explained that mesh networking would offer a more reliable and scalable solution for building and home automation devices, networks of sensors, and other IoT devices. (Fig. 2, at right, is from Bluetooth's "Mesh Technology Overview", a downloadable.pdf.) Devices that are part of the mesh are referred to as "nodes".

The mesh capability - based on Bluetooth Low-energy, using its Advertising packages - enables many-to-many device communications and is, says the SIG, optimised for creating large-scale device networks.

Selection of a mesh networking technology is a critical decision for any developer, and it is a make or break factor in the success of a solution. "Bluetooth mesh and Bluetooth Low Energy will expand the size and functionality of the lighting control market". In this manner, one could use their smartphone to connect to a mesh proxy and, for instance, control smart lights.

"Within the building automation market, there is a growing focus on connected lighting and the role it can play as a platform for providing automation services throughout a facility", said Szymon Slupik, president and CTO of Silvair and chairman of the mesh working group within the Bluetooth SIG.

The special interest group also said that we can see products employing the new Mesh Networking specs within six months.

The new specification can be added to any device that already supports Bluetooth 4.0 or 5.0, but whether current devices receive it depends on manufacturers' updates.

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