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Bluetooth Mesh Introduced to Support IoT

July 19, 2017 By Steve Senne in

Bluetooth has raised the bar for its short-distance, wireless networking products and services with the introduction of mesh networking. Bluetooth’s new wireless mesh networks can support many-to-many (m:m) device communications and enables end users to construct much larger networks, according to a Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) blog post.


Bluetooth Mesh is well-suited for building automation and sensor networks, as well as other Internet of Things (IoT) networks that may comprise hundreds or thousands of devices and need highly secure, highly reliable communications, the Bluetooth SIG highlights.


Smart, networked LED lighting for building and facilities is one such application that has been growing. Bluetooth touts that its mesh networking platform is the most robust and powerful radio technology out on the market when it comes to supporting network-connected lighting solutions for commercial spaces.


A working group of Bluetooth SIG members develop the solution.


Bluetooth Mesh


Bluetooth mesh networking employs what’s known as “a managed flood approach” that the SIG says is uniquely suited to support low-power wireless networks to transport messages, those with a substantial amount of multicast traffic in particular.


The Bluetooth SIG believes its new mesh networking capability will open up significant opportunities to expand use of its technology when it comes to beacons, robotics, industrial automation, smart city applications and other industrial IoT and advanced manufacturing solutions.


“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.”


Bluetooth mesh networking comes at an auspicious moment. ABI Research, for instance, expects 48 billion Internet-enabled devices will be installed worldwide by 2021. Nearly one-third are expected to support Bluetooth, the market research provider points out.


“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.”