Bluetooth® Testing with the R&S®CMW Wideband Radio Communication Tester

The development and proliferation of Bluetooth® is a unique success story. The number of Bluetooth® wireless technology enabled devices is currently growing by 3.6 billion per year. As Internet of Things (IoT) technology advances, this number will grow significantly over the next years. Bluetooth SIG anticipates that there will be nearly 5.6 billion new Bluetooth® enabled devices in 2022. To ensure connectivity and trouble-free operation, each Bluetooth® enabled device has to be tested for conformance with Bluetooth SIG standards and regulatory requirements.

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Platform overview

The R&S®CMW wideband radio communication tester platform offers all major radio access technologies in a single compact tester, making it ideal for testing mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets as well as base stations and access points. It is also an excellent platform for testing the diverse requirements of networked products in the automotive, healthcare smart home and other IoT segments.

Rohde & Schwarz – recognized as a reliable partner for Bluetooth® testing solutions

The R&S®CMW wideband radio communication tester platform supports Bluetooth® technology up to version 5. It covers the Bluetooth® Classic signaling function and all Bluetooth® LE transmitter and receiver tests as specified by Bluetooth SIG. The R&S®CMWrun sequencer software tool simplifies conformance testing by automatically executing all Bluetooth SIG test cases. Options for fast and comprehensive production testing of Bluetooth® enabled devices speed up the production process. The R&S®CMW supports Bluetooth® technology as well as other non‑cellular standards and all major cellular standards in one box.

Numerous advantages of the future-ready R&S®CMW all-in-one platform

With its extremely stringent speed and reliability requirements, the user-friendly R&S®CMW platform efficiently performs all measurement tasks – from complex lab tests to production line testing. While the highend R&S®CMW500 covers the entire spectrum, the R&S®CMW270 has been specialized for non-cellular connectivity applications. The R&S®CMW290 is a cost-effective, compact version for standard measurements and functional tests. The R&S®CMW100 tester is optimized for production. Since all R&S®CMW models are code compatible, it is easy to reuse code on other models, e.g. for remote control.

Bluetooth® technology overview

A Bluetooth® device typically consists of a host and a Bluetooth® controller, both of which communicate via the host controller interface (HCI). The Bluetooth® stack and the application run on the host, the Bluetooth® controller provides the baseband operation. Applications use specific profiles to translate a certain functionality of a Bluetooth® device into a service (e.g. temperature measurement).

Since Bluetooth® technology continues to migrate into a wide range of applications, the number of profiles is constantly increasing. Bluetooth® devices that share the same baseband and profiles for interoperability are able to connect with each other.

Bluetooth ® Classic

The term Bluetooth® Classic is used for Bluetooth® devices featuring basic rate (BR) and enhanced data rate (EDR) operation as specified in the Bluetooth® core specification, version 1 and higher. The main characteristics of this operating mode are:

  • Conventional operation with a low data rate (BR)
  • Operation with an improved transmission speed (EDR)

79 RF channels are available for data transfer, each with 1 MHz spacing and located in the 2.4 GHz ISM band. Frequency hopping between the channels is used to prevent interference with ambient radio signals. In adaptive hopping mode, blocked channels are not used. While BR modulation uses Gaussian frequency shift keying (GFSK) with a gross data rate of 1 Mbit/s, EDR further enhances the data rate by using π/4‑DQPSK (2 Mbit/s) and 8DPSK (3 Mbit/s) phase shift keying.

Bluetooth® applications

Today, Bluetooth® technology is everywhere: in cars, smartphones, computers, headsets, fitness tracker bracelets, toys, smart homes, medical technology, industrial applications and more. The range of applications is virtually limitless.

Automotive

All major car manufacturers offer Bluetooth® enabled hands-free calling systems. Bluetooth® technology goes beyond hands-free calling, bringing infotainment to the car by connecting to the audio system so passengers and drivers can listen to whatever they want while driving or use apps to navigate, check traffic, view weather reports and restaurant information.

The over-the-air (OTA) car key system is a virtual smartphone key for company fleets, car-sharing companies and car rental agencies. The driver books the required car with a smartphone app, and the OTA key system sends the encrypted data to the cell phone to gain access to the car. New phone apps also use Bluetooth® technology to monitor and diagnose mechanical and electrical components.

For example, the tire pressure monitoring and electronic tire information system permanently monitor the tire’s inflation pressure and reliably alert the driver in the event of a loss of pressure.

Health and medical

Bluetooth® technology is the ideal wireless standard for hospital and home applications. Bluetooth® LE enabled blood glucose monitors, pulse oximeters, heart rate monitors, asthma inhalers and other products are becoming more and more common. Consumers like them because they can connect to their own Bluetooth® enabled PCs, tablets and smartphones. Patients and their care providers receive critical information in real time, giving them a more accurate, full picture of the body’s response to a prescribed treatment plan. This information can help them track health data over time, showing trends and even providing alerts when necessary.

Wearables

The fast-growing wearables market encompasses activity monitors, smart glasses, headsets, child and pet monitoring, medical aids, head- and hand-mounted terminals and cameras and even smart clothing. By far, the majority of these products rely on connectivity via Bluetooth® technology. Fitness and wellness wearables are showing up on wrists everywhere to monitor steps, activity, sleep and even emotional levels. Infotainment wearables range from audio headsets to smart watches and smart glasses that use Bluetooth® technology to connect to mobile apps. Industrial wearable applications include handsfree terminals and heads-up displays for more efficient logistics, inventory, production and worker safety.

Consumer electronics and home automation

These days, most consumer electronic devices are connected with the smart, power-efficient wireless Bluetooth® technology. Bluetooth® is practically a standard feature for PC applications. Hundreds of millions of Bluetooth® devices stripped away the wires between music lovers’ headsets and speakers and their phone or PC. New products such as gaming VR headsets, toothbrushes, light bulbs, yoga mats, tools and lawn mowers have also been released with a wireless Bluetooth® connection. With a phone, tablet or laptop in hand, homeowners can control the lights, temperature, household appliances, window and door locks and security systems in their homes. Since most homeowners already have at least one Bluetooth® capable smartphone or tablet, they can use devices they are already familiar with.

Retail and location based services

The proliferation of Bluetooth® technology is opening up new markets. Beacons – small objects transmitting location information to smartphones and powered by Bluetooth® LE – make mobile wallets and location based services possible. Beacon functionality is already used for marketing in shopping malls, for indoor navigation in large stadiums and for contactless payment, e.g. for parking. Other use cases for beacons include airports, transit stations and large event venues where they are used to easily send out notifications on departures, delays and other passenger information.

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