Introducing Bluetooth Mesh Networking

Bluetooth® technology, the global standard for simple, secure wireless connectivity, now supports mesh networking. The new mesh capability enables many-to-many (m:m) device communications and is optimized for creating large-scale device networks. It is ideally suited for building automation, sensor networks, and other IoT solutions where tens, hundreds, or thousands of devices need to reliably and securely communicate with one another.

“Bluetooth mesh networking is the most robust and powerful low-power radio technology for connected lighting in commercial spaces, and it is the change the lighting industry has been waiting for,” said Rafal Han, CEO, Silvair. “We’re excited the world will finally see the efforts and contributions of Silvair and all the other dedicated working group member companies – the Bluetooth mesh revolution has officially started.”

How it Works

Bluetooth mesh networking brings the unique combination of the proven, global interoperability and mature, trusted ecosystem Bluetooth technology is known for to the creation of industrial-grade device networks.

“For us, Bluetooth mesh is the future,” said Dr. Juergen Kienhoefer, CEO, Wireless Cables Inc. “Our customers are mostly industrial customers that work with sensors and controls, meaning they need long range, tight security, and reliable communication with a large number of devices, as well as more and more integrated web capabilities each year. While our current solutions can extend Bluetooth range up to 200 meters, Bluetooth mesh allows us to solve even more complex range and limit problems.”

Bluetooth mesh networking utilizes a managed flood approach for message transmission, which is a simple and reliable form of message relay that is uniquely suited for low-power wireless mesh networks, especially those handling a significant amount of multicast traffic. This makes flood-based message relay an ideal approach for the strict reliability, scalability, and performance requirements of the commercial and industrial markets.  

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A Proven, Trusted Technology

Today, Bluetooth is the leading low power wireless connectivity technology used to stream audio, transfer data, or broadcast information between devices. Now, with the introduction of a mesh networking capability, Bluetooth mesh networking is poised to further catalyze beacons, robotics, industrial automation, energy management, smart city applications, and other industrial IoT and advanced manufacturing solutions.

“At Smart & Green, we have trusted Bluetooth technology to give us the simple, secure connectivity our customers demand,” said Peter Wildhorn, general manager, Smart & Green. “With Bluetooth mesh, we can continue to develop new, innovative uses for lighting that will improve peoples’ lives.”

Looking Forward

The value-added capabilities, mature ecosystem and global brand awareness that Bluetooth wireless technology provides will enable the creation of much richer solutions with a faster time to market.

“The addition of mesh to the Bluetooth standard will open up significant opportunities for richer experiences in smart homes and building automation, enabling fresh waves of innovation across a range of IoT applications,” said Bob Morris, vice president of marketing, Wireless Business Unit, ARM. “Low-power connectivity is essential to bringing the next generation of secure IoT devices to life.”

The introduction of Bluetooth mesh networking comes at a time of pivotal industry growth, with ABI Research expecting 48 billion internet-enabled devices to be installed by 2021, of which nearly one-third will include Bluetooth. We expect Bluetooth mesh will make the largest initial impact in commercial lighting and industrial applications, and will eventually become a common technology in the larger Internet of Things ecosystem.

“By adding support for mesh networking, the Bluetooth member community is continuing a long history of focused innovation to help new, up-and-coming markets flourish,” said Mark Powell, executive director for Bluetooth SIG, Inc. “In the same way the connected device market experienced rapid growth after the introduction of Bluetooth Low Energy, we believe Bluetooth mesh networking can play a vital role in helping early stage markets, such as building automation and wireless sensor networks, experience more rapid growth.”

The Bluetooth mesh networking specifications, as well as the tools required to qualify Bluetooth products with mesh networking support, are now available here.

For an in-depth look at Bluetooth mesh, check out this collection of technical articles. Written by the Bluetooth development team, these articles help you understand how Bluetooth mesh works at a deeper level.

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