Advantages of BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) | disadvantages of BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy)

This page covers advantages and disadvantages of BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy). It mentions BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) advantages or benefits and BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) disadvantages or drawbacks.

What is BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy)?

• Specifications of Bluetooth are developed and maintained by Bluetooth SIG (Special Interest Group).
• IEEE standardized bluetooth as IEEE 802.15.1 but they no longer maintains the standard.
There are various versions of bluetooth starting from V1.2 till V4.1, V4.2, V5.0 and V5.1 (recently published). The bluetooth specifications V4.1 and above are known as bluetooth low energy.
• The BLE operates at licensed free 2.4 GHz frequency band. It has total 40 channels out of which 3 are used for advertising and 37 are used for data transmission/reception.
• It covers distance of about 50 meters indoor and 150 meters outdoor.
• It uses GFSK modulation scheme.
• There are various data rates as per bluetooth versions. BLE v4.1 supports 1 Mbps where as latest V5.1 supports 2 Mbps data rates.

Bluetooth Network Toplogies

• There are two types of network topologies in bluetooth network viz. piconet and scatternet.
• Piconet is formed by 1 master and 1 slave as well as 1 master and multiple slaves.
• Combinations of multiple piconets is called scatternet.
• A device can participate in multiple piconets and will timeshare and need to be synchronized with master of current piconet.

In BLE devices function in different role pairs as follows.
• Advertiser/Scanner (Initiator)
• Slave/Master
• Broadcaster/Observer
There are various roles played by BLE devices at various phases of discovery/connection during Uni-cast (i.e. peer-peer) or Broadcast connections.

Benefits or advantages of BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy)

Following are the benefits or advantages of BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy):
➨It offers very low power consumption and hence battery life can be very long. This is due to the fact that both master and slave devices can go to deep sleep mode between transactions. Master informs slave about hopping sequence and when to wake up.
➨It can be used for small size data transfer specially in IoT (Internet of Things) based applications. It offers maximum upto 255 bytes of message capacity.
➨It offers security using 128 bit AES algorithms. Hence encryption is applied to data being communicated between master and slave devices.
➨It uses frequency hopping using 2.4 GHz band, hence it can withstand against interference. Moreover advertising channels are chosen to be different than wifi channel frequencies to avoid interference between wifi and bluetooth devices.
➨The BLE devices are robust to operate in congested environment due to introduction of V5.0
➨It offers reliability and enables digital life.
➨BLE beacon devices have become popular due to speed and range increase in bluetooth 5.0 version.
➨Connection establishment procedure and data transfer is very fast (about 3 ms).
➨Devices from different manufacturers are compatible with the others.
➨There are endless devices using BLE and are inexpensive too.

Drawbacks or disadvantages of BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy)

Following are the drawbacks or disadvantages of BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy):
➨It can not be used for higher data rates as offered by wifi and cellular technologies. It supports 1 Mbps & 2 Mbps data rates.
➨It can not be used for long distance wireless communications unlike cellular and wifi devices. It supports upto 200 meters in LOS (Line of Sight).
➨It is open to interception and attack due to wireless transmission/reception.


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BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) Links

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