Getting Started with Bluetooth Low Energy
Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), also known as Bluetooth Smart, is a technology for low-bandwidth wireless applications. Many of the applications intended for BLE focus on small packets of data periodically updating a client dashboard application, such as a health monitor.
Reasons to adopt BLE
Power consumption with respect to battery powered applications – BLE is very power efficient. Depending on the specifics of the application, it is reasonable to expect many months to years of uptime from a single CR2032 battery.
Applications that need periodic updates of small amounts of information – perhaps just a few bytes worth of data measurements.
- Example: health monitors (periodic reports on heart rate, core body temperature, etc.)
Interoperability – vast majority of devices (PC/laptops, smartphones) have support for BLE. All major operating systems for mobile applications have native BLE support.
- Power consumption 0.01 – 0.5W, depending on application
- Sleep modes in the microamp range.
Up and running quickly – BC118 and LBM313
- Development devices that allow for quick implementation of BLE applications.
- Fully functional mobile applications for testing and verifying operation.
- Can get up and running with sending data without dealing with any of the BLE stack.
Each comes with device firmware incorporating a fully operational Bluetooth stack.
- Many BLE profiles already implemented
- C118 implements a Transparent Mode – enables sending/receiving serial data to act as a wireless replacement for a serial/USB wired connection.
- Both interface with simple serial commands over either UART or I2C to allow quick interfacing to a microcontroller.
- Can start sending data without doing a single BLE-related thing.
- Generic Attribute Profile (GATT)
Development hardware incorporates all RF design, including antenna to get up and running.
- Plug and play functionality – drop-in design.
- Not suitable for high-bandwidth applications like media streaming.