Bluetooth® Low Energy (LE) for wearables, peripherals and IoT

Bluetooth® LE, with its extremely low power consumption, very fast pairing and worldwide use of the 2.4 GHz band, addresses many applications requiring short-range low-power data connectivity

Bluetooth® Low Energy (LE) for wearables, peripherals and IoT

The Bluetooth® LE technology has been adopted in Bluetooth® specification 4.0 to achieve an ultra-low-power solution particularly for peripherals and wearables used in a wide range of applications such as medical devices or automotive applications. With this version, Bluetooth® LE has a maximum data rate of 1 Mbit/s, consuming between 0.01 to 0.5 watts, thus using around half the power to provide approximately 33 % of the data rate of Bluetooth® Classic.

With Bluetooth® 5, the application range was further expanded in the internet of things (IoT) space with features for higher data rate of 2 Mbit/s, long-range coding and additional advertising capabilities. The number of devices per ad hoc network was increased. In conjunction with the Bluetooth® Mesh specification, this opens new opportunities in the home/building automation and industrial applications area.

Bluetooth® 5.1 improved the direction finding capabilities with features like Angle of Arrival (AoA) and Angle of Departure (AoD), and the latest version 5.2 was adding native low energy audio support and a smart power control functionality.

Bluetooth® Low Energy Test Mode

Unplug! Bluetooth® Low Energy testing reinvented

Introducing the world’s first radio controlled Bluetooth® Low Energy Test Mode. At Rohde & Schwarz, we developed the most easy and accurate way of testing Bluetooth® Low Energy.

  • Simplifying the test setup
  • Unifying all Bluetooth® testing (Bluetooth® Classic and Bluetooth® Low Energy)
  • Supporting all RF conformance tests
  • Simplifying OTA measurements (TRP/TIS)
  • Enabling bit rate and packet error rate measurements
Poster: Connecting almost everything with Bluetooth® Low Energy

Free poster

Connecting almost everything with Bluetooth® Low Energy

Would you like to get a quick overview of Bluetooth® Low Energy technology aspects based on the latest Bluetooth SIG specification?
Learn more about the different physical layer options and latest features like direction finding, power control or audio streaming.

Sign up and receive your free poster.

On-demand webinar

Webinar: Everything you need to know about Bluetooth® Low Energy (LE) in 2020

Bluetooth®LE is among the most successful wireless technologies for the internet of things (IoT). Over the last decade, the use cases have evolved from connecting PC peripherals to full communications with wearable devices, and even more. The latest releases (5.0, 5.1, 5.2) of the Bluetooth® specification open the door to even more applications in the IoT area, such as smart homes, smart buildings and indoor location services.

The webinar will introduce the latest features you should know about, such as long range or direction finding, and explain related test challenges and solutions. It will also highlight a novel solution of a radio-controlled test mode, which will redefine the way of testing upcoming Bluetooth® LE devices.

LE 1M LE 2M LE coded (S=2) LE coded (S=8)
Spectrum 2.4 GHz ISM band 2.4 GHz ISM band 2.4 GHz ISM band 2.4 GHz ISM band
Number of channels 40 40 40 40
Channel spacing 2 MHz 2 MHz 2 MHz 2 MHz
Interference avoidance Adaptive frequency hopping spread spectrum (1600 hops/s over max. 37 channels) Adaptive frequency hopping spread spectrum (1600 hops/s over max. 37 channels) Adaptive frequency hopping spread spectrum (1600 hops/s over max. 37 channels) Adaptive frequency hopping spread spectrum (1600 hops/s over max. 37 channels)
Advertising Three advertising channels Three advertising channels Three advertising channels Three advertising channels
Modulation GFSK (250 kHz) GFSK (500 kHz) GFSK (250 kHz) GFSK (250 kHz)
Coding header:1/1
Max. data rate 1 Mbit/s 2 Mbit/s 500 kbit/s 250 kbit/s
Different Bluetooth® test setups for various applications

Your Bluetooth® LE test challenges

There are several factors that influence the overall communications performance. These include antenna design, power supplies, coexistence issues with other wireless communications chips such as LTE and WLAN, and the final housing. During and after the design stage, it is important to conduct tests to ensure that the transmitted information is correct.

Tests such as verifying the test packet structure, output power, modulation characteristics and carrier frequency error are necessary. Bluetooth® SIG has defined related test cases for the Bluetooth® qualification and has specified a direct test mode (DTM) to control transmitter and receiver tests via a wired control interface. This test mode is activated via external commands, which can be a bit cumbersome, especially for test situations where no direct access to the DUT is possible.

However, the industry is also looking for possibilities to allow easy-to-use over-the air testing of the Bluetooth® LE devices. Essentially, there are two approaches: to use the always-active advertising channels to perform RX and TX measurements, or to use standard Bluetooth® LE signaling for testing the device.

Benefits of Rohde & Schwarz Bluetooth® LE test solutions

  • Bluetooth® test functions are available for all major Rohde & Schwarz test instruments, including signal generators and signal analyzers
  • Supporting Bluetooth® LE in line with Bluetooth® core specifications 4.0, 4.1, 4.2, 5, 5.1 and 5.2 for design, certification and production
  • Bluetooth® SIG qualified the R&S®CMW wireless communication tester for RF testing. The test setup can be automated with the R&S®CMWrun sequencer software tool

Related resources

Bluetooth® Low Energy Over-The-Air Advertiser Testing

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White paper: From cable replacement to the IoT – Bluetooth 5.1

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Application note: Bluetooth® adaptive frequency hopping on an R&S®CMW

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Application brochure: Bluetooth® testing with the R&S®CMW wideband radio communication tester

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Application note: Advanced Bluetooth® RF tests with R&S®CMWrun

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Application card: Conducted multi-standard in-device coexistence testing

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