Bluetooth is a wireless technology created by Ericsson in 1994 that operates on the 2.4GHz ISM band.
Initially, Bluetooth was presented as a peer-to-peer wireless alternative to replace cable-based communications. Today, Bluetooth is the most used technology for exchanging data between nearby equipment (PAN, or Personal Area Network: 1m-30m) wirelessly.
The “Bluetooth Special Interest Group” is made up of more than 25,000 companies from different sectors (telecommunications, motorcar, music, etc.) and is responsible for guiding Bluetooth’s development. It is difficult to give a figure as to the number of devices on the market equipped with Bluetooth, but today it is estimated that there are trillions of products (smartphones, tablets, cars, etc.) on the market that implement one of this technology’s different versions:
- Bluetooth v1.0 and v1.0B
- Bluetooth v1.1
- Bluetooth v1.2
- Bluetooth v2.0 + EDR (2004)
- Bluetooth v2.1 + EDR (2007)
- Bluetooth v3.0 + HS (2009)
- Bluetooth v4.0 (2010)
- Bluetooth v4.1 (2013)
- Bluetooth v4.2 (2014)
With the recent appearance of Bluetooth v4 (2010), also known as Bluetooth Smart, a divide has been produced in what has until now been known as Bluetooth, giving rise to two different protocols:
- Classic Bluetooth: Is on the side of the original Bluetooth.
- Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE): Is a new protocol designed to be used on battery powered equipment such as sensors. When compared to Classic Bluetooth, BLE offers reduced consumption (greater battery life), greater simplicity in the creation and management of pairing between equipment, and a reduced data transfer rate.
This protocol division also translates into chips being divided in function of their operating mode:
- Single-Mode: Chips that only operate with the BLE protocol.
- Dual-Mode: Chips that offer both the BLE and Classic Bluetooth protocols.
The entire ecosystem of Bluetooth devices existing on the market, together with the new Bluetooth Low Energy branch developed mainly for the growing Sensors and Wearables markets, means that Bluetooth brings together interesting and highly popular technology.
If we add to this our society’s growing trend towards a more interconnected world, the Internet of Things (IoT), Bluetooth can offer a fantastic opportunity for electronic equipment optimised in size, resources, and / or cost to be connected to the network of networks through smartphones and tablets.
Over the last few years, the IKOR has been developing technology on an R+D+i level, as well as product testing and manufacturing productivity means for Bluetooth-based products, making it the perfect partner for developing and manufacturing Bluetooth-based wireless products.