The basics of Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)

October 18, 2016 // By Abhishek Gupta & Imran Mohammed, Cypress Semiconductor
Bluetooth technology has revolutionized wireless communications between devices with its ubiquitous and simple characteristics. It allows devices to communicate without cables while maintaining high levels of security. Because of its low power and low cost, Bluetooth has played a pivotal role in the evolution of applications from high-speed automotive devices to complex medical devices.

The ease and the global acceptance of Bluetooth technology means any Bluetooth-enabled device can connect with other devices located in close proximity through a process known as pairing. Pairing allows devices to establish a full duplex communication by transmitting data and voice through short range, ad hoc networks known as piconets that can link up to eight devices. One device serves as the master device, while the rest of the devices within the network/piconet are slave devices. The master device acts as a hub, and slave devices communicate through the master device in order to communicate with each other. Another important characteristic of Bluetooth technology is its use of frequency hopping to reduce the impact of interference.


The full duplex capabilities of Bluetooth technology provide a host of interconnection use cases, that have become familiar in consumer electronics,and beyond.


Bluetooth Low Energy

Bluetooth Low Energy is the intelligent, power-friendly version of Bluetooth wireless technology. It is already playing a significant role in transforming smart gadgets to smarter gadgets by making them compact, affordable, and less complex.


Bluetooth Low Energy, also marketed as Bluetooth Smart, started as part of the Bluetooth 4.0 Core Specification. Initially designed by Nokia as Wibree before being adopted by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG), its initial focus was to provide a radio standard with the lowest possible power consumption, specifically optimized for low cost, low bandwidth, low power, and low complexity.


These design goals are evident through the core specification, which attempts to make BLE a genuine low-power standard, designed to actually be implemented by semiconductor manufacturers and used in real-world applications tight on energy with minimal budget. It is already a widely adopted technology that can realistically stake claim to run for an extended period of time off a single coin cell.


While BLE is a superior technology on its own merit, what has driven its phenomenal adoption rate