Industrial applications are turning to Bluetooth®

Bluetooth Mesh ideal for security, reliability, longevity, and efficiency needs

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Bluetooth is the global standard for simple, yet secure wireless connectivity. Today, the technology supports billions of electronic devices including medical devices, industrial devices, transportation systems, building automation solutions, and much more. The specification continues to evolve to support IoT technologies and specifically data broadcasting capability in terms of capacity and packet lengths. Bluetooth Mesh was announced in 2017 and quickly being adopted by industrial applications for several reasons. 

Before there was Mesh, there was Bluetooth and Bluetooth LE. Bluetooth transmits a steady stream of data over point-to-point (1:1) connections; whereas Bluetooth LE supports point-to-point communications, but can also support broadcast, or one-to-many (1:m) communications. Each one of these specifications has a core set of strengths suitable for many applications.  

Bluetooth is the global standard for simple, yet secure wireless connectivity. Today, the technology supports billions of electronic devices including medical devices, industrial devices, transportation systems, building automation solutions, and much more. 

The specification continues to evolve to support IoT technologies and specifically data broadcasting capability in terms of capacity and packet lengths. Bluetooth Mesh was announced in 2017 and quickly being adopted by industrial applications for several reasons.

Before there was Mesh, there was Bluetooth and Bluetooth LE. Bluetooth transmits a steady stream of data over point-to-point (1:1) connections; whereas Bluetooth LE supports point-to-point communications, but can also support broadcast, or one-to-many (1:m) communications. Each one of these specifications has a core set of strengths suitable for many applications.  

However, Bluetooth Mesh is a not radio technology, but instead, it sits on top of Bluetooth and creates a many-to-many networking technology (m:m). Messages are can ‘hop’ node to node, and duplicate messages can travel through the network using different paths. There is no need to configure special rules or routes, Bluetooth Mesh provides a highly reliable, redundant architecture that is only limited by a 32,000 node count. If one node drops off, the network is still in tack and continues communications. In essence, a self-healing network.

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The nodes on a Mesh network aren’t limited to being monitoring or control points; they can be repeaters, relays, gateways or routers providing connections to external LANs or the cloud. Bluetooth is typically for short range applications; however, for Bluetooth Mesh, nodes don’t have to be nearby or adjacent physically. The message keeps passing through the network until it reaches its destination.

Bluetooth Mesh ideal for is industrial applications for several reasons:

Reliability. Bluetooth Mesh enables networks without a single point of failure because the nodes communicate with each other, and not a central gateway or router. The network implements a flood message relay architecture to ensure multipath communications, enabling a self-healing network. The trade-off to this type of reliability is power because the nodes are always communicating, there is a constant need for power.

Scalability. Nodes can be added (commissioned) or taken off (decommissioned) the network anytime, as long as the maximum node count does not exceed 32,000.

Security.  Bluetooth Mesh has built-in security by implementing a two-layer encryption and authentication process protecting all inter-node communications. Additionally, the Bluetooth Mesh provisioning process for new nodes uses 256-bit elliptical curve encryption.

Interoperability. Almost all networks use products from multiple vendors. Bluetooth Mesh is compatible with Bluetooth 4 and newer; assuring users that their sensors, controllers, gateways, repeaters and routers from different vendors will all work together.

Bluetooth Mesh enables large-scale device networks ideal for automation applications, asset tracking, large-scale, remote sensor networks or any solution where multiple devices need reliability and security to communicate with each other.

 

About Axsys Automation

Axsys Automation’s is a leading provider of IoT sensor, gateway, connectivity, mobile applications and cloud-integration solutions. We have over 20 years of industrial and commercial ODM/OEM engineering design and new product development. We have implemented Bluetooth Mesh networks by partnering with Silicon Labs and creating a long-range wireless networking solution. For more information about our Bluetooth Mesh capabilities, contact sales@axsysautomation.com.