Bluetooth is one of the most widely-utilized technologies in mobile computing, and is slated to receive a significant upgrade that’s capable of accelerating the development of industrial internet and smart homes. Bluetooth Special Interest Group enforces the compatibility among billions of devices that utilize short-range Bluetooth wireless technology. The group announced on Tuesday that the current standard now supports mesh networking.
Mesh networks connect a variety of access points and devices across a distributed network, instead of a one-to-one connection that exists between a smartphone and headset. This method significantly improves the range and reliability of a wireless network, as information can be relayed across several devices instead of between two spaced-apart electronics. If part of a network goes offline, mesh technology is capable of routing around the outage and continue its initial task. Wi-Fi networks have been increasingly utilizing mesh networking, mainly because of how easy they are to set up than conventional wireless networks.
The new standard will build on Bluetooth 4.0, which means most existing smartphones and tablets will probably recognize and manage devices built for mesh networks. In theory, connected device makers could also utilize new mesh networking technology if they designed their products to accommodate Bluetooth upgrades. Smart building technologies like connected lights, thermostats, and door locks (just to mention a few), currently utilize a broad range of wireless technologies to sync their networks. Devices with Bluetooth mesh networking will be subject to thorough testing and validation to ensure their compatibility. This in turn could encourage more people and businesses to consider connected devices for their homes and workplaces.
The IoT has experienced notable growth without much (if any) mainstream successes and advances like what we’re seeing with the union of Bluetooth and mesh networking, to make IoT scenarios more plausible. Installing smart technology like lights in a residential home can cause even the most patient individuals to throw a fit of frustration. If syncing lights was simple as pairing them with a smartphone and portable speaker, they’d probably be purchased more frequently by consumers.
Some of the earliest IoT implementations were in commercial applications like factories, retail stores, or office buildings, due to the complexity involved in provisioning and maintaining these networks. Bluetooth’s simplicity could encourage additional placement of sensors and edge-networking devices that transmit detailed information around a building the size of a football stadium. Bluetooth mesh networking is something we don’t fully understand in terms of all the products developers might build using this technology. The first devices that fully incorporate Bluetooth and mesh networking should be deployed over the next six months. Companies of the Bluetooth SIG have researched mesh networking since late-2014, however it takes a long time for upwards of 30,000 corporate entities to agree on a universal standard.
Filed Under: M2M (machine to machine)