What is Bluetooth?
Bluetooth is a wireless technology that specializes in short-range communication of under 30 ft, and is one of the most popular forms of connectivity for IoT projects.
Bluetooth’s short range is one of its greatest benefits as a wireless technology, as it results in very low power usage, and since Bluetooth’s transmitters don’t travel past 30 feet, communications tend to be more secure than competitors like Wifi.
The security of Bluetooth connectivity is improving as the technology evolves over time. Newer versions of the connectivity operate with a self-healing mesh network. This means there will be no single point of failure in the network.
The self-healing mesh network is a crucial development when considering the consequences of a complete network failure, where one device brings down every other device it’s connected to.
In addition, Bluetooth’s global interoperability has helped to make it a mainstay option for IoT connectivity. This is particularly important considering the number of devices that interact with one another within an average IoT system.
Although Bluetooth can’t handle as large of a data load as other connectivity types like Wifi, it can be an ideal connectivity choice for projects that involve infrequent, small data transfers. In addition, Bluetooth’s low signal frequency helps IoT devices consistently communicate with other devices and signals in “noisy” networks..
This makes it a great candidate for many complicated IoT systems like those within the manufacturing industry, where hundreds of IoT sensors can send small bursts of data across a factory or refinery. Using Wifi instead of Bluetooth in this IoT scenario could result in heightened interference and additional setup cost and time.
Plus, since these sensors often send small data loads less frequently, the extra bandwidth that Wifi provides isn’t needed.
Two great IoT applications for Bluetooth connectivity can be found within wearable devices and smart homes, which, similarly feature small data loads and require short coverage range as well as low power usage.
Bluetooth connectivity is simple to set up, as long as the devices are embedded with Bluetooth connectivity. This is because while any IoT device (including sensors) can be Bluetooth-enabled, devices that aren’t native to Bluetooth lack a reliable way for users to collect data from them.
Bluetooth wouldn’t operate at its best within harsh coverage environments, including severe weather and building interference because of its weak signal and short coverage range. In addition, Bluetooth would be a suboptimal choice for IoT projects that require the transferring of large amounts of data.