Bluetooth’s next major advance is set to break the range barrier

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) yesterday announced that Bluetooth now supports mesh networking. Mesh networking support will enable creating large-scale device networks that is suited for building automation, sensor networks and other IoT solutions. Bluetooth mesh networking will work on Bluetooth Low Energy (LE) and is compatible with core specification version Bluetooth 4.0 and higher.

Bluetooth mesh uniquely delivers the following:

  • Reliability: Enables inherently self-healing networks with no single points of failure
  • Scalability: Supports thousands of nodes with industrial-level performance
  • Security: Provides industrial-grade security for protection against all known attacks
  • Interoperability: Bluetooth is known for its global interoperability, it assures products from different vendors work together.

Sample markets:

  • Building Automation: New control and automation systems, from lighting to heating/cooling to security, are about to make homes and offices a lot smarter. Bluetooth mesh networking supports these smart buildings, enabling tens, hundreds or even thousands of wireless devices to reliably and securely communicate with each other.
  • Wireless Sensor Networks: The wireless sensor network (WSN) market is growing fast. Especially in industrial WSNs (IWSN) where many companies are making significant cost and efficiency improvements to existing WSNs. Bluetooth mesh networking is designed to meet the strict reliability, scalability and security requirements of IWSNs.
  • Asset Tracking: Capable of supporting broadcast topology, Bluetooth LE became an attractive alternative for asset tracking over active RFID. The addition of mesh networking lifted Bluetooth LE range limitations and established the adoption of Bluetooth asset tracking solutions for use in larger and more complex building environments.

The Bluetooth mesh networking specifications are now available at the Bluetooth website. Smart City and Smart Buildings are important areas of focus for Microsoft’s Azure IoT solutions. According to a recent survey conducted by IDC on the most trusted vendors for US Smart City transformation, Microsoft was ranked the most trusted vendor. You can learn more about Azure IoT solutions here.

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