Perhaps a victim of its own success, the global proliferation of Bluetooth® technology in headsets, phones, watches, and cars has sparked multiple myths about what the technology can and can’t do. In truth, Bluetooth technology powers a wide range of essential solutions, from home automation and indoor navigation to commercial and industrial innovations

Myth: Bluetooth is Reliable Up to 30 Meters

For years, there’s been a widely held opinion that Bluetooth technology is only good for short-range applications. This is due, in large part, to how the technology is used. Since the most well-known use cases, such as audio and wearables, have design requirements that dictate a shorter range, these developers chose to implement the technology and hardware in a way that delivers a max range of 10 to 30 meters.

In fact, the effective, reliable distance between Bluetooth devices can be greater than a kilometer. and can even support reliable remote control of beyond-visual-range (BVR) drones. Bluetooth technology is a fit-for-purpose solution, and several factors can influence the effective range — from radio spectrum and transmit power to antenna gain and path loss.  

The variable range is proof of the technology’s versatility. Unlike other wireless technologies, the wide spectrum of achievable and reliable distances gives developers tremendous flexibility to create solutions that meet the precise needs of their target use case. Check out other factors — such as receiver sensitivity, antenna gain, and PHY — that play a role in determining how far Bluetooth range can go.

Myth: Bluetooth Can’t Go Through Walls

Think about when you’re trying to hear someone in the next room. The difference between the volume and clarity of what you can hear differs depending on what the walls are made of. You have an easier time hearing what’s on the other side of a sheetrock wall than you do if the wall is made of concrete. But, in either case, you can still hear a sound if it’s loud enough. The same idea can be applied to radio signals.

Path loss reduces signal strength as it travels through the air. It occurs naturally and is impacted by environmental factors like walls, windows, and other obstacles that might deteriorate the signal. But radio waves can still pass through objects, even concrete walls and floors, meaning that a Bluetooth signal is not limited to the room you’re in. These barriers will have an impact on the overall range of the signal, but they don’t block it.

Myth: Bluetooth is a Consumer Technology

You’re not alone if you think of Bluetooth as a consumer-only technology. There’s widespread misunderstanding about the technology’s commercial and industrial potential. This, again, is due to the history of its use. In the last 20 years, Bluetooth technology created and cultivated hundreds of new global markets with audio streaming and short-range data transfer being two of the most prevalent. And while Bluetooth has made its bread and butter on your headsets, fitness trackers, and smartphones, that is just one aspect of the tech.

All over the world, developers use Bluetooth technology to achieve wireless connections at distances of more than a kilometer, and these connections are the foundation of a new generation use cases like industrial asset tracking and large-scale sensor networks

Bluetooth technology can do a lot more than given credit for, and, through innovation in consumer applications, it continues to enhance the lives of millions of people around the world. But, in some ways, its success created a narrow perception of its capabilities. In truth, Bluetooth solutions are used to solve a multitude of less commonly known commercial and industrial challenges. 

Check out the Bluetooth range estimator and see how far Bluetooth range can go for you.

FEATURED TOOL

The Bluetooth Range Estimator

Calculate the expected range between two Bluetooth devices.

TRY IT NOW

How Bluetooth Technology Creates Reliability From Unreliable Foundations

Figure 3a – A stack configuration supporting Bluetooth LE with GAP/GATT/ATT Bluetooth® enabled devices…

2 Ways Bluetooth Technology Makes Wireless Connections Reliable

One of the biggest challenges for any wireless technology in providing reliable data communication…

Understanding Reliability in Bluetooth® Technology

Download this detailed discussion of the issues and factors that impact the reliability of…

Bluetooth Mesh Networking Highlights and Features

This white paper provides an overview of the Bluetooth Mesh Profile and highlights some…

Energy and Cost Savings at Pioneer Markets in Mariposa and Waterford, California

Pioneer market is a family owned grocery business operating in Mariposa, California and Waterford,…

Bluetooth Mesh for Industrial IoT

Bluetooth Mesh lays a framework for large-scale industrial deployments using technology that is already…

Bluetooth AoD as the Technology of Choice for Indoor Positioning Systems (IPS)

This article discusses how GPS and Location Based Services became so ubiquitous that we…

Seven Reasons Why Bluetooth is Perfect for the Industrial IoT

Amid all the excitement around Bluetooth in the consumer space, the fact that it’s…

Bluetooth Mesh and DALI - Under the Hood

In my previous article on Bluetooth Mesh and DALI – the Perfect Match, we…

Car Access With TI Connection Monitor

Learn how the TI Connection Monitor is used to monitor Bluetooth Low Energy communications…

Unlocking IoT Data With Bluetooth® Mesh

In this webinar we explore how sensing meets lighting control in Bluetooth mesh. We…

Low Latency, Deterministic Bluetooth Technology

Watch Pelle Svenson of ublox provide an overview of low latency deterministic control using…

Reducing the Risk of COVID-19 Transmission

Learn how Philips partnered with Cassia Networks to help fight the spread of COVID-19…

Building a Sensor-Driven Lighting Control System Based on Bluetooth® Mesh

A technical examination of which Bluetooth mesh models to use in different types of…

Bluetooth SIG works to include wearable in COVID-19 exposure notification systems

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) is working to create a new specification that…

Tested: How much does Bluetooth actually drain your phone battery?

Android Authority tests five smartphones to determine that Bluetooth Technology does not noticeably drain…

Extending an ENS to Support Wearable Devices

See how an ENS can better address population groups critical to managing a pandemic…

What is Bluetooth Mesh? | Tech Chats - with Cypress Semiconductor

Chris Anderson chats with Michael Shen of Cypress Semiconductor about Bluetooth mesh, covering a…

POM Tracer Ensures Workplace Safety with Contact Tracing Solutions from Laird Connectivity

POM Tracer was looking to create an easy-to-implement product that would allow businesses and…

How to Deploy BlueZ on a Raspberry Pi Board as a Bluetooth Mesh Provisioner

This step-by-step study guide will teach you: How to rebuild the kernel on a…

2020 Bluetooth Market Update

Supported by updated forecasts from ABI Research and insights from several other analyst firms, the Bluetooth Market Update highlights the latest Bluetooth trends and forecasts.

Bluetooth Location Services

See 8 use cases for enhancing building efficiencies and creating a better visitor experience, discover new data that supports the latest trends and forecasts, and find out what’s driving the rapid adoption of location services solutions.

How to Make Wearables Bluetooth Mesh Provisioners

Learn how to create applications for smartwatches and other platforms that can monitor and control nodes in a Bluetooth mesh network.

2019 Bluetooth Market Update

Supported by updated forecasts from ABI Research and insights from several other analyst firms, the Bluetooth Market Update highlights the latest Bluetooth trends and forecasts.

Lighting as a Platform

See how connected lighting systems are being used as a platform to enable advanced building services like wayfinding, asset tracking, and space utilization to improve the ROI of smart building investments.

An Introduction to the Bluetooth Mesh Proxy Function

Learn how to create applications for smartphones and other platforms which can monitor and control nodes in a Bluetooth mesh network.

 Get Help