Bluetooth technology is reliable by design

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        Bluetooth technology is a radio communication technology and radio technology is often seen as unreliable. With this in mind a question arises can Bluetooth technology be described as reliable? One of the biggest issues that wireless technology faces in attempting to provide reliable data communication is interference says Martin Woolley senior developer relations manager EMEA Bluetooth SIG.

        This challenge is especially true in unlicensed spectrum bands where a communications technology needs to accommodate potential interference from other devices using the same communications technology as well as devices using other communications technologies that operate in the same band. To circumvent potential interference Bluetooth technology uses various techniques including adaptive frequency hopping and compact efficient packets transmitted at a relatively high data rate. Spread spectrum techniques can improve the reliability of a wireless technology.

        Bluetooth technology mitigates the risk of collisions and avoids interference by using a spread spectrum method known as Adaptive Frequency Hopping (AFH). Like all frequency-hopping spread spectrum (FHSS) technologies Bluetooth divides the radio band it operates within into multiple smaller radio channels (e.g. 40 in the case of Bluetooth Low Energy). Bluetooth technology hops between transmission channels to further decrease the probability of collisions with other in-range transmissions. For example compared with other low power mesh networking technologies Bluetooth mesh packets are typically half the size and are transmitted at 4 times the data rate. The small packet size of Bluetooth mesh and the high symbol rate of the Bluetooth LE radio reduces the required airtime for a packet and means that Bluetooth mesh networks fare well in this respect. To put simply as the smaller Bluetooth packets are less likely to be impacted by interference its mesh networking is considered to be the first low power mesh networking


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