Bluetooth Smart Technology: Powering the Internet of Things
Bluetooth® Smart is the intelligent, power-friendly version of Bluetooth wireless technology. While the power-efficiency
of Bluetooth Smart makes it perfect for devices needing to run off a tiny battery for long periods, the magic of
Bluetooth Smart is its ability to work with an application on the smartphone or tablet you already own. Bluetooth
Smart makes it easy for developers and OEMs to create solutions that will work with the billions of Bluetooth enabled
products already in the market today. Learn more about the technology behind Bluetooth Smart.
Connecting the Internet of Things
First talked about more than 15 years ago, the Internet of Things (IoT) theorized objects and people would connect
wirelessly. Classic Bluetooth provided the means for device communication and manufacturers built hub devices like
PCs, smartphones, cars and tablets to take advantage of these connections. Now, because of Bluetooth Smart, the
world is exploding with an incredible array of devices connecting to these hubs. A projected 30 billion devices will
enter into the IoT ecosystem by 2020 according to ABI Research . Analyst firms all over the world recognize
Bluetooth Smart as a key enabler in the Internet of Things.
What it Means to You
For consumers, it comes down to the Internet of Your Things. You wake up and go for a run with a heart rate monitor
that speaks directly to your smart watch. You brush your teeth with a sensor toothbrush while listening to music
through your showerhead. You keep your back straight and protect your computer with sensors at your desk. You
watch your kids play basketball with a "smart" ball and shoes. You unlock your doors, turn on the lights and run your
TV with your smartphone. These wirelessly connected devices are making your life better and less hectic while
allowing you to benefit from the convenience, empowerment and freedom of Bluetooth Smart technology.
Powering New Verticals
Bluetooth technology gained an early foothold in several industries like consumer electronics, PC peripherals and
automotive. With the advent of Bluetooth Smart, many sports and fitness companies rushed to integrate the new
technology because of its power efficiency and ability to connect to smartphone apps—it was the perfect fit for a wide
range of devices from heart-rate monitors to cycling computers. Now Bluetooth Smart technology is powering many
verticals from wireless medical devices and home automation to retail and wearables. ABI Research projects
Bluetooth technology will experience the highest growth in these markets in the next five years.
Developing with Bluetooth Smart
Bluetooth Smart is an application-friendly technology supported by every major operating system. The technology
costs less and offers flexible development architecture for creating applications to bring everyday objects like heartrate monitors, toothbrushes, and shoes into the connected world and have them communicate with applications that
reside on the Bluetooth Smart compatible smartphones, tablets, or similar devices those consumers already own.
This means Bluetooth Smart developers are limited only by their imagination.
The Low Energy Technology Behind Bluetooth Smart
Thanks to its innovative design, Bluetooth® Smart technology consumes only a fraction of the power of
Classic Bluetooth radios. Bluetooth Smart extends the use of Bluetooth wireless technology to devices that
are powered by small, coin-cell batteries such as watches and toys. Other devices such as sports & fitness,
health care, keyboards and mice, beacons, wearables and entertainment devices are enhanced by this
version of the technology. In many cases, it makes it possible to operate these devices for more than a year
As with previous versions of the specification, the range of the radio may be optimized according to
application. The majority of Bluetooth devices on the market today include the basic 30 foot, or 10 meter,
range of the Classic Bluetooth radio, but there is no limit imposed by the Specification. With
Bluetooth Smart, manufacturers may choose to optimize range to 200 feet and beyond, particularly for inhome sensor applications where longer range is a necessity.
Bluetooth Smart features provides:
Ultra-low peak, average and idle mode power consumption
Ability to run for years on standard coin-cell batteries
Lower implementation costs
This enhancement to the Bluetooth Core Specification allows two types of implementation, dual-mode and
single-mode. In a dual-mode implementation, Bluetooth low energy functionality is integrated into an existing
Classic Bluetooth controller. The resulting architecture shares much of Classic Bluetooth technology's
existing radio and functionality resulting in a minimal cost increase compared to Classic Bluetooth
technology. Additionally, manufacturers can use current Classic Bluetooth technology (Bluetooth v2.1 + EDR
or Bluetooth v3.0 + HS) chips with the new low energy stack, enhancing the development of Classic
Bluetooth enabled devices with new capabilities.
Single-mode chips, which will enable highly integrated and compact devices, will feature a lightweight Link
Layer providing ultra-low power idle mode operation, simple device discovery, and reliable point-to-multipoint
data transfer with advanced power-save and secure encrypted connections at the lowest possible cost. The
Link Layer in these controllers will enable Internet connected sensors to schedule Bluetooth low energy
traffic between Bluetooth transmissions.
Registered members of the Bluetooth SIG can access in-depth technical information about Bluetooth low
energy technology. (You must be on-line and logged in as a registered member of the SIG to access this
link). If you're not a member, register today .
Data Transfers – Bluetooth Smart (low energy) supports very short data packets (8 octet minimum up to 27
octets maximum) that are transferred at 1 Mbps. All connections use advanced sniff-sub rating to achieve
ultra low duty cycles
Frequency Hopping – Bluetooth Smart (low energy) uses the adaptive frequency hopping common to all
versions of Bluetooth technology to minimize interference from other technologies in the 2.4 GHz ISM Band.
Efficient multi-path benefits increase the link budgets and range
Host Control – Bluetooth Smart (low energy) places a significant amount of intelligence in the controller,
which allows the host to sleep for longer periods of time and be woken up by the controller only when the
host needs to perform some action. This allows for the greatest current savings since the host is assumed to
consume more power than the controller
Latency - Bluetooth Smart (low energy) can support connection setup and data transfer as low as 3ms,
allowing an application to form a connection and then transfer authenticated data in few milliseconds for a
short communication burst before quickly tearing down the connection
Range – Increased modulation index provides a possible range for Bluetooth Smart (low energy) of over 100
Robustness – Bluetooth Smart (low energy) uses a strong 24 bit CRC on all packets ensuring the maximum
robustness against interference
Strong Security – Full AES-128 encryption using CCM to provide strong encryption and authentication of
Topology – Bluetooth Smart (low energy) uses a 32 bit access address on every packet for each slave,
allowing billions of devices to be connected. The technology is optimized for one-to-one connections while
allowing one-to-many connections using a star topology.
Welcome to Bluetooth Technology 101
A brief tutorial on Bluetooth wireless technology
What is Bluetooth technology?
Bluetooth® technology is the global wireless standard enabling, convenient, secure connectivity for an
expanding range of devices and services. It is an essential element for bringing everyday objects into the
Created by Ericsson in 1994, Bluetooth wireless technology was originally conceived as a wireless
alternative to RS-232 data cables. Bluetooth technology exchanges data over short distances using radio
transmissions. Bluetooth technology operates in the unlicensed industrial, scientific and medical (ISM) band
at 2.4 to 2.485 GHz, using a spread spectrum, frequency hopping, full-duplex signal at a nominal rate of
1600 hops/sec. The 2.4 GHz ISM band is available and unlicensed in most countries.
What is Bluetooth used for?
Bluetooth wireless technology is built into billions of products, from cars and mobile phones to medical
devices and computers and even forks and toothbrushes. Bluetooth technology allows you to share voice,
data, music, photos, videos and other information wirelessly between paired devices.
When was Bluetooth technology invented?
In 1994 a group of engineers at Ericsson, a Swedish company, invented a wireless communication
technology, later called Bluetooth. In 1998, the original group of Promoter companies—Ericsson, Intel,
Nokia, Toshiba and IBM—came together to form the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG). Since no single
company owns the technology, the SIG member companies work together to preserve, educate, and further
Bluetooth technology as a means to bring devices into the connected world.
Where does the name Bluetooth come from?
The name "Bluetooth" comes from the 10th century Danish King Harald Blåtand or Harold Bluetooth in
English. King Blåtand helped unite warring factions in parts of what are now Norway, Sweden and Denmark.
Similarly, Bluetooth technology was created as an open standard to allow connectivity and collaboration
between disparate products and industries.
How does Bluetooth technology differ from other radio technologies?
Mobile phones, FM radio and television all use radio waves to send information wirelessly. And while
Bluetooth technology also uses radio waves, it transmits them over a shorter distance.
Radios and TV broadcasts over many miles or kilometers. Bluetooth technology sends information within
your Personal Area Network or "PAN" (aka your own personal space) at distances up to 100 meters (328
feet)—depending upon device implementation. Bluetooth technology operates in the unlicensed industrial,
scientific and medical (ISM) band at 2.4 to 2.485 GHz, using a spread spectrum, frequency hopping, fullduplex signal at a nominal rate of 1600 hops/sec.
Is Bluetooth technology hardware or software?
It's a combination of both. When someone says a product contains Bluetooth that means it includes a small
computer chip containing the Bluetooth radio. But it also needs software to connect, via Bluetooth wireless
technology, to other products.
What else can Bluetooth technology do?
Originally intended to be a wireless replacement for cables on phones, headsets, keyboards and mice,
Bluetooth technology now goes way beyond that. Bluetooth technology is bringing everyday devices into a
digital and connected world. In the health and fitness market, the use cases vary widely — from sensors
that monitor activity levels to medical and wellness devices that monitor healthcare, like a glucometer,
inhaler or toothbrush. The top-selling Smartphones, PCs and tablets all support Bluetooth technology. Invehicle systems give the ability to make phone calls, send texts, and even make dinner reservations. The
Bluetooth SIG is also seeing developments where drivers will monitor important information like vehicle
diagnostics, traffic, even driver health — all in real time. Bluetooth technology is creating opportunities for
companies to develop solutions that make a consumer's life better.
What are Bluetooth Smart and Bluetooth Smart Ready?
Bluetooth Smart and Bluetooth Smart Ready are extensions of the original Bluetooth brand introduced in
2011. The Smart and Smart Ready designations indicate compatibility of products using the low energy
feature of the Bluetooth v4.0 specification. A Bluetooth Smart Ready product connects to both classic
Bluetooth and Bluetooth Smart low energy products. By contrast, a Bluetooth Smart product collects data
and runs for months or years on a tiny battery. Think of a Smart product as a sensor that works for a long
time without changing the battery (like a fitness heart rate monitor) and a Smart Ready product as a collector
(like a smart phone or tablet receiving the information and displaying it in an application).
A Look at the Basics of Bluetooth Technology
Bluetooth® technology is a wireless communications technology that is simple, secure, and everywhere. You
can find it in billions of devices ranging from mobile phones and computers to medical devices and home
entertainment products. It is intended to replace the cables connecting devices, while maintaining high levels
The key features of Bluetooth technology are ubiquitousness, low power, and low cost. The Bluetooth
Specification defines a uniform structure for a wide range of devices to connect and communicate with each
When two Bluetooth enabled devices connect to each other, this is called pairing. The structure and the
global acceptance of Bluetooth technology means any Bluetooth enabled device, almost everywhere in the
world, can connect to other Bluetooth enabled devices located in proximity to one another.
Connections between Bluetooth enabled electronic devices allow these devices to communicate wirelessly
through short-range, ad hoc networks known as piconets. Piconets are established dynamically and
automatically as Bluetooth enabled devices enter and leave radio proximity meaning that you can easily
connect whenever and wherever it's convenient for you.
Each device in a piconet can also simultaneously communicate with up to seven other devices within that
single piconet and each device can also belong to several piconets simultaneously. This means the ways in
which you can connect your Bluetooth devices is almost limitless.
A fundamental strength of Bluetooth wireless technology is the ability to simultaneously handle data and
voice transmissions. which provides users with a variety of innovative solutions such as hands-free headsets
for voice calls, printing and fax capabilities, and synchronization for PCs and mobile phones, just to name a
The range of Bluetooth technology is application specific. The Core Specification mandates a minimum
range of 10 meters or 30 feet, but there is no set limit and manufacturers can tune their implementations to
provide the range needed to support the use cases for their solutions.
Bluetooth Core Specification
Unlike other wireless standards, the Bluetooth Core Specification provides product developers both link
layer and application layer definitions, which support data and voice applications. For more information
about the Bluetooth Core Specification, visit ourBluetooth.org member site (member sign-in required for
some sections of the site).
Bluetooth technology operates in the unlicensed industrial, scientific and medical (ISM) band at 2.4 to 2.485
GHz, using a spread spectrum, frequency hopping, full-duplex signal at a nominal rate of 1600 hops/sec.
The 2.4 GHz ISM band is available and unlicensed in most countries.
Bluetooth technology's adaptive frequency hopping (AFH) capability was designed to reduce interference
between wireless technologies sharing the 2.4 GHz spectrum. AFH works within the spectrum to take
advantage of the available frequency. This is done by the technology detecting other devices in the
spectrum and avoiding the frequencies they are using. This adaptive hopping among 79 frequencies at 1
MHz intervals gives a high degree of interference immunity and also allows for more efficient transmission
within the spectrum. For users of Bluetooth technology this hopping provides greater performance even
when other technologies are being used along with Bluetooth technology.
Range is application specific and although a minimum range is mandated by the Core Specification, there is
not a limit and manufacturers can tune their implementation to support the use case they are enabling.
Range may vary depending on class of radio used in an implementation:
Class 3 radios – have a range of up to 1 meter or 3 feet
Class 2 radios – most commonly found in mobile devices – have a range of 10 meters or 33 feet
Class 1 radios – used primarily in industrial use cases – have a range of 100 meters or 300 feet
The most commonly used radio is Class 2 and uses 2.5 mW of power. Bluetooth technology is designed to
have very low power consumption. This is reinforced in the specification by allowing radios to be powered
down when inactive.
The Generic Alternate MAC/PHY in Version 3.0 HS enables the discovery of remote AMPs for high speed
devices and turns on the radio only when needed for data transfer giving a power optimization benefit as
well as aiding in the security of the radios.
Bluetooth low energy technology, optimized for devices requiring maximum battery life instead of a high
data transfer rate, consumes between 1/2 and 1/100 the power of classic Bluetooth technology.
Bluetooth technical information
If you're an engineer, product manager, or anyone else looking for detailed technical information, visit
our Bluetooth.org member site . You'll find a large Technical Resources section (member sign-in required)
that covers testing and qualification, profiles, the Bluetooth Core Specification, and much more.
The Bluetooth SIG runs this website, www.bluetooth.org , which is dedicated to members and serves as
the definitive source of information around Bluetooth SIG programs, initiatives, and Bluetooth wireless
technology development. If you are associated with a member company or interested in Bluetooth SIG
membership, learn more at www.bluetooth.org .
Bluetooth High Speed Technology
Bluetooth® high speed technology lets you quickly send video, music and other large files between your
The Bluetooth SIG announced the release of Bluetooth high speed technology in April 2009 when it
completed Bluetooth Core Specification Version 3.0 + HS. The v3.0 Specification enables the use of a
Generic Alternate MAC/PHY, allowing well known Bluetooth protocols, profiles, security, and pairing to be
used in consumer devices while achieving faster throughput by momentary use of a secondary radio already
present in the device.
Bluetooth high speed technology is also included in the newest Bluetooth specification.
Bluetooth high speed technology works by isolating activity from the AMPs, enabling the use of new radios
without full system integration. This reduces costs while expanding future build opportunities. It also
removes the user from new paradigms and supports existing Bluetooth use cases, making them faster and
ensuring continuity for the UX experience while lowering costs and reducing training requirements.
The v3.0 + HS enhancement to the Core Specification provides consumers with powerful, wireless
connections that are more robust and reliable than ever before. Features include:
Power Optimization - By using the high speed radio only when you need it, Bluetooth high speed reduces
power consumption, which means a longer battery life for your devices.
Improved Security - The Generic Alternate MAC/PHY in Bluetooth high speed enables the radio to discover
other high speed devices only when they are needed to transfer your music, pictures or other data. Not only
does this optimize power, but it also aids in the security of the radios.
Enhanced Power Control - Limited drop-outs are now a reality. The enhanced power control
of Bluetooth high speed makes power control faster and ensures limited drop-outs, reducing consumer
experience of impacts from power. Users are now less likely to lose a headset connection—even when the
phone is in a coat pocket or deep inside a purse.
Lower Latency Rates - Unicast Connectionless Data improves the customer experience of speed by
lowering latency rates, sending small amounts of data more quickly.
Bluetooth Technical Information
If you're an engineer, product manager, or anyone else looking for detailed technical information, you'll
find all technical resources you need at Bluetooth.org. Some of this information requires member sign-in, but
you can also access Bluetooth® Core Specifications and information about profiles, testing, qualification and
more even if you aren't a member of the Bluetooth SIG.
Bluetooth.org is dedicated to Bluetooth SIG members. It serves as the definitive source of information
regarding Bluetooth SIG programs, initiatives, and events. If you're associated with a member company, you
can log in to Bluetooth.org. If you're interested in Bluetooth SIG membership, learn more in the membership
section of Bluetooth.org.
If you're an application developer or engineer creating software or devices with Bluetooth technology, then
check out the new Bluetooth Developer Portal . You'll find overviews of Bluetooth technology and
resources for developing products. There's something for everyone, whether you're a newcomer to
Bluetooth technology, smartphone app developer or experienced Bluetooth engineer.
Building with Bluetooth Technology
We also recommend visiting the "Building with the Technology"
section of our Bluetooth.org website.
Although this website is primarily for Bluetooth SIG members, you don't have to be a member to access any
of this valuable information. The section includes:
Search listings for Qualified products and components
Product development information, including details about building, testing, and qualifying products
How the technology works
Bluetooth core specification
and much more...
Here are some additional technical resources to help you understand Bluetooth technology. Most of these
links require a Bluetooth SIG member user name and password:
The guiding document for the development of Bluetooth Profile Specifications.
A list of assigned numbers, codes and identifiers in the Bluetooth wireless standard.
Bluetooth Qualification Test Facilities (BQTF)
Bluetooth Qualification Experts (BQEs)
Bluetooth Core Specification Roadmap *
The guiding document for the development of Bluetooth Core Specifications.
Profile Tuning Suite *
PTS is a PC-based, black box tool designed for testing Bluetooth protocol and profile implementations. PTS
can be used for in-house testing of a wide range of possible Bluetooth devices with many profiles.