BLE or Bluetooth gateway? Are they the same thing? Nowadays, most Bluetooth gateways are using BLE(Bluetooth Low Energy) technology in order to save energy and have a longer working time, because most of Bluetooth-based IoT scenarios (especially machine-to-machine communication) requires low power consumption. So when people saying Bluetooth gateway, they usually want to have BLE gateways. This article provides an in-depth explanation of the difference between these two. Let’s explore!
Bluetooth Gateway Using Bluetooth Classic
What is Bluetooth Classic?
In 1994, Bluetooth technology was introduced as an alternative to cable connections for devices that needed to be kept apart. To create links, Bluetooth uses a variety of low-power frequencies. The BL operation range is the same as many other wireless protocols, which are 2400MHz to 2483.5MHz. BL does not transmit data on a single frequency, in contrast to other protocols. Instead, it divides the data into packets and sends them to 79 channels within the 2.4GHz band①.
Bluetooth’s permitted data rates range from 1Mb/s to 3Mb/s and are typically limited to close proximity①. Once you are about 30 feet away, the majority of devices lose connectivity. The protocol, however, has the potential to function theoretically over far greater distances. The Bluetooth range is affected by a number of variables, including interference, transmitter strength, and receiver sensitivity.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Bluetooth Classic
Larger Data Transmission
A Bluetooth Classic device has a greater transmission speed of up to 2.1Mb/s and may send data continuously. A Classic device is ideal for streaming high-quality, high-definition audio because it is built to transfer data continually. So, if continuously and rapidly transferring large data is your goal, choose Bluetooth gateway because it is so effective and efficient.
Require More Consumption
Bluetooth Classic, on the other hand, also has certain drawbacks. The maximum range of conventional devices is 30 metres. Another restriction of the BL is that it only permits up to seven devices to be connected actively. Compared to Bluetooth low-energy, classic Bluetooth requires more time to connect. A BL device pairs and connects in about 100 milliseconds. A Classic device would still use energy even while in sleep mode. Standard Bluetooth also has the disadvantage of taking longer than BLE to send data.
BLE Gateway Using Bluetooth Low Energy
What is BLE?
BLE, also known as Bluetooth Low Energy, first entered the market in 2011. BLE uses less power than Bluetooth Classic, as its name (BL) implies. BLE utilises the same 2.4GHz frequency as BL. Instead of seventy-nine channels, it only transmits forty②. The BLE will remain in an idle state until you activate the connection, which is another obvious distinction between the BLE and its BL. By switching between various rate frequencies, BLE conserves electricity. When BLE is coupled, a BLE gateway‘s duty cycle is much shorter than BL’s.
BLE typically has lower data rates than BL, ranging from 125Kb/s to 2Mb/s②. Bluetooth Classic and BLE devices cannot communicate with one another, even though they are variations of the same standard. With a dual-mode chip, Internet of Things devices can transfer data over both, utilising just one antenna.
How Does BLE Gateway Work?
Bluetooth-enabled devices must be paired or connected to a BLE gateway for them to function. The BLE gateway can send data from the connected device to the cloud thanks to this connection. When this information reaches the cloud server, it immediately registers the connected Bluetooth device. The BLE gateway will then start looking for any nearby Bluetooth devices. As soon as a gadget enters its range, it captures all of the details, including its features, about it.
Then, using the cached information, it decodes all HTTPS requests. It then responds to those requests using that data, such as the device characteristics. The real data of the Bluetooth device that is linked may occasionally be the subject of HTTPS requests. In this situation, it will automatically establish a connection with the Bluetooth device and collect the necessary data.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Bluetooth Low-Energy
Low Power Consumption
A BLE device has an extremely long battery life since it uses very little electricity. It happens because, during transactions, both slave and master devices enter sleep mode. The master gives directions to the slave regarding the hopping order and when it should awaken. For transferring small data amounts, especially in IoT-based applications, a BLE gateway is ideal.
BLE uses 2.4GHz frequency hopping, which can tolerate interference. To prevent Bluetooth and WiFi device interference, selecting advertising channels with frequencies different from WiFi channels is also critical. Devices that use Bluetooth low energy are more reliable and durable, enable digital lives and are also less expensive. They are quicker than BL because the connection takes only three milliseconds.
Not Suitable for Large Data and Long-distance Transmission
The disadvantage of BLE technology is that it cannot support large data speeds as cellular and WiFi do. Only 1Mb/s and 2Mb/s data rates are supported. Additionally, it is not suitable for long-distance wireless transmission. It only provides LOS support out to 200 metres. BLE also has the drawback of being vulnerable to assaults and interception due to wireless reception and transmission.
However, in some situations, in order to track and monitor outdoor devices, people also want to look for long-distance Bluetooth IoT solutions. Dusun IoT offers Bluetooth Long Range Gateway solutions. The BLE Long Range mode is also known as coded PHY in in Bluetooth 5.0 protocol. It extend the range of BLE devices to 1km and beyond, with the price of reduced signal transmission rate. It is worthwhile to notice that the hardware support for this new mode support may change, so choose carefully.
BLE vs Bluetooth, What’s the Difference?
Short-range wireless data transfer is facilitated by both Bluetooth and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). Power usage and data transfer rate are where the two systems diverge most dramatically:
Streaming audio and video, making phone calls, and downloading massive files are just some of the many uses for Bluetooth’s high transfer rates and capacity. When compared to BLE, Bluetooth’s power consumption is considerably higher. Hence it’s often only employed in devices with a constant power supply.
The Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) standard was developed for use in low-power, low-data-rate devices, including sensors, wearables, and IoT gadgets. The battery life of BLE-enabled devices is increased because it uses less power than Bluetooth. Because of its long battery life, BLE is perfect for handheld gadgets.
BLE gateway in Different IoT Scenes
BLE gateways will behave differently depending on the environment in which they are used, but they can still provide great performance even in complex environments. Its low power consumption and wireless operation ensure a low cost of ownership and enable companies to quickly and easily deploy IoT projects.
Industrial BLE Gateway for Location Tracking
Industrial locations frequently contain a lot of metallic items that might reflect, distort, or prevent the transmission of frequencies (the use of a Faraday cage). As a result, “shadow zones” and different communication distances between points may be present in these situations. In actual use, detectors should be placed as far away from bigger metal items as is practical. It can also be required to employ distant antennas or more detectors to cover shadowy regions.
The selection of beacons is one of the elements that affect the BLE range, as was previously stated. The Bluetooth SIG offers a range estimation calculator based on a number of factors, such as antenna gain and transmission power. The anticipated BLE range for an industrial location is 73 to 140 metres③.
The variety of equipment available to manufacturers includes torque wrenches, dies, and specialised gears. Unfortunately, a lot of businesses need help with tool availability, usage, hoarding, misplacing, and theft. As part of the audit process, it can be crucial for businesses that have internal or legal requirements for tracking high-value assets to ensure accountability, property, and location. Manual procedures that increase these commercial difficulties can be expensive, incorrect, and ineffective.
By automating these operations through the use of capital asset management and maintenance management systems, The BLE beacon gateway or AoA locator plus BLE beacons can free up staff members to engage in more fulfilling endeavours. The solution uses little power and is based on BLE. Its useful life may be up to five years. Additionally, BLE AoA can attain sub-meter accuracy of roughly 0.3-0.5 metres, which is nearly on par with UWB solutions.
Small and medium-sized metal items, such as screens, computers, and absorbent things that can slightly affect the signal range, are present in these situations. Therefore, it is advised that the BLE gateway be positioned high up since high areas near the ceiling often provide fewer obstructions to the propagation. The Bluetooth SIG calculated the BLE range for an office setting as follows③
Bluetooth Low Energy Asset Tracking
One indoor setting where theft happens regularly in schools, public tablets, computers, books, laboratories, sporting goods, and other technological assets are typically scattered across the building or gathered in different places. Capital expenditures and maintenance costs rise as a result of excess inventory. The BLE gateway can be used to follow the whereabouts and motion of assets in conjunction with cloud analytics for real-time sensor monitoring.
The school personnel may quickly find nearby and accessible things when combined with a dashboard specifically designed for school administrators. The system issues a notification when an asset departs a predetermined area.
Learn more about BLE AoA Locator vs Bluetooth beacon gateway Here!
BLE Gateway for Remote Patient Monitoring
Chronic care remote physiologic monitoring, such as remote glucose monitoring and remote blood pressure monitoring, are only two examples of how Dusun IoT’s BLE gateway-based remote patient monitoring device solutions are helping the medical industry move closer to informatization. Through the BLE gateway, remote monitoring devices communicate with the customer’s health platform to track and analyse vital signs in real time.
BLE Mesh Lighting Control
BLE mesh lighting control solution extends the meaning of smart lighting control. Lighting fixtures with sensors can work as Bluetooth Mesh nodes to receive messages from other nodes.
In this way, luminaire and other same infrastructure sensors can be used to monitor the entire building conditions, such as room occupancy, temperature, user behavior patterns, and use a BLE mesh gateway to send these data to your public or private cloud, so as to establish a building automation system to reduce energy consumption and improve management performance.
A whole range of lighting components, including drivers, switches, sensors, and IoT lighting controllers, are also available from Dusun IoT’s Bluetooth mesh lighting control solution. With our BLE mesh gateway, you may create anything from basic to sophisticated IoT lighting control devices, and you can pick and choose the functionalities that best suit your requirements.
About Dusun IoT
For many years, Dusun IoT has made investments in the research and development of Bluetooth gateway. For applications in the smart home, healthcare, and location tracking, we offer a variety of BLE gateways, including BLE Beacon Gateway, BLE GATT Gateway, BLE Mesh Gateway, Bluetooth Long Range Gateway, and Roam Bluetooth Gateway. In order to make it simpler for you to develop your own IoT solutions, we have already developed a mature, systematic approach that provides programmable BLE IoT devices.
The hardware parts of the solution are all produced independently, improving quality control. By using the site form or the online chat feature to describe your specific situation and requirements, Dusun IoT will zealously tailor an IoT solution based on the Dusun BLE gateway for you. Top quality and a strong supply capacity! High-quality and prompt delivery!
Bluetooth (2023) Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bluetooth
Bluetooth Low Energy (2023) Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bluetooth_Low_Energy
Paper The Importance of Standards in the Smart Retail Market Retailers are increasingly looking towards Internet of Things (IoT) technologies to help them deliver… et al. (no date) Bluetooth technology website: The Official Website of bluetooth technology., Bluetooth® Technology Website. Available at: https://www.bluetooth.com/