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BLE Long Range: A Better Way to Connect

Table of Contents

Introduction

The BLE Long Range mode is also known as coded PHY in Bluetooth protocol for a narrow definition. Due to the growth in demand for wireless protocol cover range, a new ‘long range’ mode has been introduced in Bluetooth 5.0 protocol. This mode is achieved by adding a coded PHY option in the physical layer, which would significantly increase the signal transmission distance with the price of the signal transmission rate.

Technical principle

In contrast to other wireless technologies, Bluetooth technology is intended to support a wide range of achievable ranges between two devices, giving developers a great deal of flexibility to create wireless solutions that best meet the requirements of their target use case. The following are some important factors that affect how far a dependable Bluetooth connection can reach:

PHY

Radio Spectrum

Receiver Sensitivity

Transmit Power

Antenna Gain

Path Loss

With Bluetooth Version 5.0, a brand-new PHY called Coded PHY was introduced. 1Mbps is still the transmission speed for raw data. However, depending on the configuration used, the rate is either 500 Kbps or 125 Kbps because of redundant user data in the data.

The effective user-data rate is ultimately less than the raw data rate because the data rates mentioned above also include packet overhead, headers, and other data. Instead of increasing transmit power, redundancy enables the receiver to use Forward Error Correction (FEC) algorithms to recover the original data from transmission errors.

The likelihood of recovering data increases with redundancy. This is why the PHY rate is frequently expressed in terms of mega symbols per second. The various PHYs and rates offered by Bluetooth version 5.0 and later are as follows:

Original 1M PHY: 1 Mega symbols/second –> where each data bit is represented by 1 symbol –> 1 Mbps

Coded PHY: 1 Mega symbols/second –> where each data bit is represented by 2 or 8 symbols –> 500 Kbps, or 125 Kbps

2M PHY: 2 Mega symbols/second –> where each data bit is represented by 1 symbol –> 2 Mbps

And here’s a table summarizing the differences:

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Coded PHY BLE packets have a different format than the standard 1M or 2M PHYs. Let’s take a look at the packet format:

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Important Notes About the Format:

The Preamble is never coded, which allows the packet to be detected in any mode (Coded PHY, 1M PHY, or 2M PHY) before determining which mode was used for the remaining packet’s data.

FEC block 1 is always coded with S=8,

FEC block 2 is coded with S=2 or S=8 (depending on the configuration).

The CI (Coding Indicator) is used to indicate which coding scheme is used in FEC block 2 (S=2 or S=8).

The timing values show how long it takes to transmit the specific field within the packet.

Here’s a table that shows the size and duration of each of the fields within the packet (taken from the Bluetooth 5.1 spec):

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Source: Bluetooth version 5.1 Core Specification document

The table shows the differences between using S=2 and S=8 for coding. Notice how the choice impacts the radio-on time, impacting power consumption.

Dusun application

Dusun Gateway and Dusun Beacon are Bluetooth long-range solutions for both scanners and advertisers. Both devices are built on the Bluetooth 5 protocol in coded PHY mode.

The DSGW-030-BLE is a gateway product that is used in smart homes, intelligent security, and pension services.

It is a central device that supports multiple wireless protocols, including Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE 5.2). The gateway also has an easy-to-use interface that allows you to easily configure the entire system and integrate the Dusun hardware with your system.

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DSBC-150/151/152/153 is a Low Energy wireless beacon or sensor beacon that can detect motion, collect ambient temperature and humidity, and more. Some products feature iBeacon/Eddystone functionality, a high protection level (IP66/IP68), and a small footprint, lightweight, portability, and pinpoint accuracy, making them suitable for applications across the board in areas like cold chain logistics, archives, laboratories, museums, and more.

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How to install and deploy

DUSUN Gateway is also featured with an easy-to-use interface to configure the whole system easily and integrate the Dusun hardware with your system. Customers can log into the gateway Luci browser to configure the gateway and obtain the data.

User can configure the data report format from Format data to RAW data,

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Scan type, vary from 1M to Coded(long range) PHY

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Report interval: time gap for ble list to be reported,

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Users can configure the filter section to obtain information from the desired devices only

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Advantages and values

As a purpose of extending the cover range of the Bluetooth scanning system, Dusun implements several different methods listed below,

Include the Bluetooth 5 stack in both the BLE gateway and the BLE beacon.

Dusun provided both BLE beacons and scanner gateways with the latest generation BLE 5 stack installed. As a result, the entire system could transmit data in coded PHY (long-range mode). Compared to a traditional 1M PHY system, the cover range could be increased by at least twofold.

Higher transmit power.

Dusun installed a power amplifier in each BLE beacon designed for a wide coverage area, which increased the transmit power (TX) of the beacons from 8dbm to 19dbm.

Higher Sensitivity

The Bluetooth chip embedded in the Dusun gateway is a new generation series from Silicon Labs with high sensitivity.

Open source

DUSUN’s products are open source, and customers can carry out secondary development on this basis to meet individual needs.

Quality assurance

With both Bluetooth and BQB certifications under our belts, you can rest assured that your purchase of one of our products will be of the highest quality.

Still have questions?

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