Low Energy: Mesh Bluetooth Technology

https://www.bluetooth.com/what-is-bluetooth-technology/how-it-works/le-mesh

Bluetooth® Low Energy (LE) enables short-burst wireless connections and supports multiple network topologies, including a mesh topology for establishing many-to-many (m:m) device communications.
New control and automation systems, from lighting to heating/cooling to security, are about to make homes and offices a lot smarter. Bluetooth mesh networking supports these smart buildings, enabling tens, hundreds or even thousands of wireless devices to reliably and securely communicate with each other.

35 Comments

  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Bluetooth Mesh networks: Is a standards body right for IoT innovation?
    The Bluetooth Mesh specification is impressive, but a specification with an open-source project could accelerate IoT adoption faster
    http://www.networkworld.com/article/3209667/internet-of-things/bluetooth-mesh-networks-is-a-standards-body-right-for-iot-innovation.html#jump

    Earlier this week, the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) announced the Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) standards have been extended to include mesh network features. It is clear that the Internet of Things (IoT) is the intended market. The SIG says:

    Bluetooth Mesh 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.”

    Mesh networks are not new. It is a network topology in which each node relays data for the network. All mesh nodes cooperate in the distribution of data in the network. The IoT-purpose-built Zigbee—a low-power, low-bandwidth ad hoc network—is a mesh network. Dating to 2002, Aruba Networks was founded to build Wi-Fi mesh networks.

    Bluetooth Mesh has some very desirable features:

    Mesh networks are self-healing. If a node fails, packets are routed around the failure, provided there are a least two nodes within range of one and other.
    Standards bring interoperability.
    The combination of BLE mesh networks and BLE beacons have very interesting applications in asset tracking and providing location-based context to augmented reality (AR) applications.
    Multiple silicon sources from established semiconductor makers such as Texas Instruments, Nordic and Cypress foster competition and lower prices.

    Is this the right time for an innovative IoT industry to commit to one standard above the data link layer?

    The implementation of the BLE mesh standard at the physical and data link layers in silicon modules and radio ICs could result in competitive prices that would drive the adoption of IoT. But it does not have to be implemented above layer 2. Implementing further up the stack is questionable when there is so much innovation ahead in the IoT and continued research into protocol independent mesh networks that could accelerate innovation.

    The Bluetooth SIG’s BLE mesh specification is very comprehensive, carefully considered and well engineered. The use cases—smart buildings, sensor networks and industrial networks—are also carefully considered. It is unclear, though, at this point in time when most IoT applications are prototypes if all the requirements of the use cases under development now and in the next few years are incorporated in the specification, and if a standards body can keep pace with rapidly changing requirements of an emerging new market.

    Reply
  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    IoT could benefit from mesh-networking capabilities in Bluetooth
    The Bluetooth SIG has published its specification for mesh networking using Bluetooth Low Energy
    http://www.networkworld.com/article/3208752/internet-of-things/iot-could-benefit-from-mesh-networking-capabilities-in-bluetooth.html#tk.drr_mlt

    In theory, Tuesday’s publication of Version 1.0 of the Bluetooth mesh networking standard is the starting gun for the race to launch compatible devices, but in practice, that race is well under way.

    The industry is already familiar with the specification’s requirements, with around 120 companies participating in the working group to develop it, compared to 10 or 20 in a typical Bluetooth SIG working group, Woolley said.

    Those requirements have already been tested, too. “We don’t finish the spec then do some testing: We’ve already had 15 testing events where we’ve covered the whole spec,”

    Not all nodes are created equal in a Bluetooth mesh network. Some – controllers in light fittings, for example – may have plentiful power while others – light switches, say, or temperature sensors – may need to run for years on one battery. The specification provides two ways for such devices to save their energy.

    One is the “publish and subscribe” model for sending messages. A kitchen light switch, for example, does not need to expend power maintaining a list of the addresses of the devices it is expected to turn on and off. Instead, it publishes a “turn on” message marked for the attention of the “kitchen lighting” list. The message is relayed around the mesh and devices decide for themselves whether to act on it based on whether or not they subscribe to the list.

    The other way relies on energy-constrained devices calling a “friend”. Temperature sensors, for example, might not be required to send out regular readings, but only to report when the temperature drifts outside a set range. That saves energy on the transmission side, as the sensors only have to signal rare exceptions — but constantly listening for updates to the set temperature range can soon flatten batteries. By designating a device with plentiful power as their friend, such sensors need only turn on their radio receiver once a day (or whatever interval has been agreed), at which point their friend hands over all the messages sent to them while they’ve been offline. It’s a little like having someone pick up your mail for you while you’re on vacation, rather than running home every day to check your mailbox.

    Choosing which mesh network to join, or which devices to be friends with, will be a little more complicated than pairing two Bluetooth devices to make a point-to-point connection.

    Reply
  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Bluetooth SIG Member Companies Celebrate Bluetooth mesh
    Posted on July 18, 2017 by Bluetooth SIG
    https://blog.bluetooth.com/bluetooth-sig-member-companies-celebrate-bluetooth-mesh

    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. 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.

    But don’t take our word for it. Here’s what a few of our 32,000 member companies have to say about Bluetooth mesh.

    Reply
  4. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Mesh Networking Specifications
    https://www.bluetooth.com/specifications/mesh-specifications

    Mesh Profile: Defines fundamental requirements to enable an interoperable mesh networking solution for Bluetooth LE wireless technology
    Mesh Model: Introduces models, used to define basic functionality of nodes on a mesh network
    Mesh Device Properties: Defines device properties required for the Mesh Model specification

    Reply
  5. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Bluetooth is getting a big upgrade to make it better for smart homes
    Yay, another smart home standard
    https://www.theverge.com/circuitbreaker/2017/7/18/15988362/bluetooth-mesh-networking-standard-released-smart-home

    There’s a long-running fight between wireless standards to be the one and only to connect all the smart devices in your home. And with an upgrade today, Bluetooth is making a good case for itself.

    Bluetooth SIG, the group that oversees the Bluetooth standard, is today releasing the specification for Bluetooth mesh. If you’re familiar with mesh networking, Bluetooth mesh is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: it allows low-power Bluetooth devices to create and act like a mesh network.

    So if a signal can’t reach its destination on the first try, another device on the network can re-transmit the message, sending it out even farther in hopes of finding the device it’s trying to get in touch with. And this can happen again and again, until the message finally gets where it needs to go.

    This is particularly useful for smart home tech, because it allows a device in one corner of the home to send a message that reaches smart devices in all the far nooks and crannies of a house. So a garage door opener, for example, could send a message to turn on the upstairs bedroom lights when you arrive home from work, with the message hopping from one smart light to another in order to reach the distant bulbs.

    Mesh networking is also important because many of these devices need to run on very little energy.

    Bluetooth mesh doesn’t require new hardware, but your device might not get an upgrade

    Bluetooth SIG is accounting for a bunch of different types of devices using mesh. It won’t require all devices on a network to rebroadcast signals, for instance, so that they can save even more power. In some cases, really low-power devices may only wake up every few hours and ping a “friend” device (say, a temperature sensor reaching out to a thermostat) to receive any pending messages, like an update to the temperature range it’s supposed to track. The mesh standard also requires all communications to be encrypted.

    Bluetooth SIG says that it usually expects to see new Bluetooth standards starting to enter the market about six months after they’re released. In this case, it expects Bluetooth mesh to show up even sooner, since new hardware isn’t required. So there’s a good chance your next Bluetooth device will support mesh, but there’s no guarantee your current ones will.

    Bluetooth won’t be the only standard, but it could become an even more popular one

    Reply
  6. Tomi Engdahl says:

    http://www.ledsmagazine.com/articles/print/volume-13/issue-3/features/smart-lighting/bluetooth-mesh-what-s-that-noise-about.html?cmpid=enl_leds_ledsmagazine_2017-07-19

    Legacy Bluetooth has relied on a hub-and-spoke topology while commercial smart lighting will require a mesh network for communications.

    The original Bluetooth, known as Bluetooth Classic, was designed as a short-range, cable-replacement technology for point-topoint communications. Initially, the main goal was to synchronize data between mobile phones, but the standard quickly became the default technology for wireless data exchange between personal computing equipment (mobile phones, PCs, PDAs) and peripherals (headsets, cordless keyboards and mice, printers, and such). Devices could form a tiny personal area network (PAN) called a piconet, whereby a single central device would coordinate the activity of up to seven active peripherals.

    Fast-forward to 2010, the Bluetooth Core Specification version 4.0 is released, introducing Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), more commonly known as Bluetooth Smart. This is where the story of Bluetooth in the IoT really begins. Bluetooth Smart was designed specifically to address the needs of a new generation of smart devices, many of which are battery-powered and therefore require fast connection times and efficient power management to reduce unnecessary energy consumption.

    The new specification extended Bluetooth’s usefulness to a whole new range of products, ultimately making it a default technology for all kinds of wearable devices. But despite some really outstanding features of the Bluetooth Smart radio, the protocol didn’t make any significant impact in the building automation segment. Smart homes were dominated by other low-power technologies, mainly ZigBee and Z-Wave, and wireless communication never really took off in commercial spaces. Due to certain important drawbacks of the available low-power communication standards, building managers preferred to stick to wired solutions, considering them way more reliable.

    The reason why Bluetooth Smart was never considered a serious contender for building automation purposes is because it was designed to support relatively simple hub-and-spoke networks

    Applications like smart lighting require much more than that. Peer-to-peer communication and extended range are among the must-have features enabling a robust network consisting of multiple smart bulbs, and the core specification of Bluetooth Smart simply didn’t provide such capability. Its hub-and-spoke model couldn’t match with the mesh topology of ZigBee or Z-Wave networks, and for this reason Bluetooth could never really compete with the two in the applications they were intended for.

    Is this meshable?

    Even though the support for mesh networking wasn’t included in the core specification of Bluetooth Smart, several companies noticed that building a mesh network based on this particular communication standard might not be such a bad idea. In 2014, Silvair (operating as Seed Labs back then) started building a mesh architecture based on Bluetooth Smart. Transforming the protocol’s single-hop topology into a robust multi-hop, peer-to-peer network was quite a challenge, but the potential reward was enormous.

    A mesh network based on Bluetooth Smart also turned out to offer outstanding performance and the core features of the Bluetooth radio allowed us to overcome many of the challenges that other communication protocols have a hard time dealing with. Obviously, the technology developed by Silvair was proprietary, although we did manage to maintain compliance with Bluetooth Smart’s core specification.

    Near the end of 2015, the SIG officially confirmed that it’s on track with the development of the Bluetooth Mesh, and that the standard would be adopted at some point in 2016. Moreover, some major improvements with regard to both the data rate and range of Bluetooth Smart will be included in the new standard.

    The standardized mesh architecture based on Bluetooth Smart is shaping up to be a powerful framework enabling robust and scalable implementations in some of the most challenging applications. Being part of that development process and seeing many of our concepts being incorporated into the global standard is a great feeling.

    The decision to base Silvair Mesh on Bluetooth Smart was intentional, as it meant that the ecosystem would be compatible with all existing Bluetooth Smart devices and chipsets. However, a mesh stack also requires numerous additional features to standard Bluetooth Smart.

    How the mesh works

    Now let’s consider how the mesh extension works. There are two types of communication within a Silvair Mesh network: central to peripheral and peripheral to peripheral. Once the mesh network is commissioned, there is no need for further central-peripheral communication.

    Central devices are usually smartphones and tablets. Such devices would typically run some type of control software. In the Silvair case, we developed an app for iOS and Android devices. The central devices are used to configure and manage the network but can also perform a software update of peripheral devices. Central devices connect to peripherals using Bluetooth Smart’s standard GATT services. While this type of connection is fully compatible with Bluetooth 4.0, it employs certain proprietary techniques to allow many smartphones to be used simultaneously to control more than eight peripheral devices with eight being the limit in standard Bluetooth 4.0.

    Peripheral devices are the nodes of a mesh network. A robust mesh implementation must allow peripherals to talk to each other and act as relays that pass messages through the mesh. This is a radical departure from the original architecture of Bluetooth Smart, and it allows for controlling entire groups of devices using multicast (one to many) communications – e.g., dimming a group of ceiling lights in a hallway. The Silvair Mesh implementation allows a maximum of 63 hops, which enables it to cover very extensive areas out of the box, in contrast to other technologies that require setting up more complicated or more expensive networks.

    Network setup

    As will be required in commercial applications, the Silvair Mesh software allows networks of any size to be set up, but the way in which large and small networks are commissioned, is different. Small networks of up to about 30 devices can be commissioned and managed using just the app on a smartphone or a tablet. The plug-and-play nature of Bluetooth, and the fact that the protocol is natively supported by virtually all smartphones and tablets on the market, makes the entire process extremely simple and intuitive. The app detects and displays mesh devices in its vicinity. The user creates a mesh network by selecting which devices should be added, and by giving the network a name. Once added to the network, associations and relationships can be set up between the devices as desired. The smartphone can then be switched off and these connections will remain in place

    Networks of over about 30 devices, or the ones requiring more sophisticated associations, scenarios, and network monitoring services, are best set up using some type of server or management appliance.

    Other mesh needs

    There are a few other key elements of a Bluetooth Mesh implementation that we will mention briefly here. There needs to be a concept of permissions for control devices that ensures proper management of devices in the network. The Silvair software stack implements four levels of permissions: 1) Administrator – can operate all devices within the network, as well as configure them and manage other users’ permissions; 2) Family – can operate all devices within the network, but cannot configure or manage them; 3) Guest – has limited permission to operate selected devices within the network; 4) and AdHoc – can operate public devices only on a one-to-one basis (no access to the mesh network).

    Likewise, the network nodes or peripherals require the ability to provide information on their operational status and programmability. The Silvair software stack defines three Peripheral Device States: 1) Factory Default – the device leaves the factory in this state and is ready for commissioning; 2) Private – all communication is encrypted, so only users with matching keys can decrypt the state information and control the device; and 3) Public – state information, as well as selected control functions, are not encrypted and can be accessed by anyone.

    The Bluetooth difference

    The question one might ask at this point is why the Bluetooth Smart mesh would be any better than other mesh protocols available on the market? Simply put, it’s all about the radio. Out of all low-power, low-bandwidth communication standards, none is even close to having such impressive qualities as Bluetooth Smart. This allows the protocol to address some of the most difficult issues in such challenging applications as smart lighting, where multicast, synchronous operation and responsiveness are among the must-have features.

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  7. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Bluetooth mesh networking could connect smart devices city-wide
    Thousands of intelligent devices can be linked using the network.
    https://www.engadget.com/2017/07/18/bluetooth-mesh-networking-could-connect-smart-devices-city-wide/

    Bluetooth is one step closer to connecting smart devices on a large scale. The wireless standard’s Special Interest Group (SIG) has announced support for mesh networking. With the new technology, manufacturers can build devices that can all talk to one another, from smart street lighting to transportation.

    Anyone who’s used mesh WiFi networks knows they work by bouncing data between routers to deliver signal to every corner of your home. Now, imagine that on the scale of a smart city, where thousands of connected devices are linked up to communicate with each other. According to the Bluetooth SIG, mesh networking offers the most reliable connection for these types of large-scale projects. This is mainly down to its low-bandwith message routing system, which can handle large amounts of data.

    In light of the recent attacks on smart appliances, the wireless standard’s governing body is also assuring manufacturers of the network’s security capabilities. It claims all messages sent across Bluetooth mesh will be encrypted and authenticated using three types of keys, making it ideal for industries that handle sensitive info, such as healthcare and financial services.

    Reply
  8. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Bluetooth makes a mesh of itself with new spec
    Up to 32,000 nodes without routers in the middle and battery life measured in years
    https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/07/21/bluetooth_mesh_specs_released/

    Bluetooth is getting a big upgrade to make it better for smart homes
    Yay, another smart home standard
    https://www.theverge.com/circuitbreaker/2017/7/18/15988362/bluetooth-mesh-networking-standard-released-smart-home

    There’s a long-running fight between wireless standards to be the one and only to connect all the smart devices in your home. And with an upgrade today, Bluetooth is making a good case for itself.

    Bluetooth SIG, the group that oversees the Bluetooth standard, is today releasing the specification for Bluetooth mesh. If you’re familiar with mesh networking, Bluetooth mesh is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: it allows low-power Bluetooth devices to create and act like a mesh network.

    If you’re not familiar with mesh networking, here’s what it means: most wireless communications go straight from one point to another — say, from your router to your laptop and back again. If your laptop is too far out of range, then you’re just out of luck.

    But mesh networks have a useful trick to help data travel longer distances: communications can hop between devices. So if a signal can’t reach its destination on the first try, another device on the network can re-transmit the message, sending it out even farther in hopes of finding the device it’s trying to get in touch with. And this can happen again and again, until the message finally gets where it needs to go.

    This is particularly useful for smart home tech, because it allows a device in one corner of the home to send a message that reaches smart devices in all the far nooks and crannies of a house.

    Reply
  9. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Last week we reported that the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) had finalized the Bluetooth Mesh specification. This week we report on companies that are prepared to help SSL developers to quickly move to deliver Bluetooth-connected products. Qualcomm, Silvair, and Silicon Labs have all announced hardware/software enabling technologies that are compliant with the mesh standard.

    Bluetooth’s range just widened, and IoT lighting companies are thrilled (UPDATED)
    http://www.ledsmagazine.com/articles/2017/07/bluetooth-s-range-just-widened-and-iot-lighting-companies-are-thrilled.html?cmpid=enl_leds_ledsmagazine_2017-07-26

    The organization that oversees Bluetooth wireless communication protocols at long last issued a standard today that extends Bluetooth’s physical range, a move that could help open commercial and industrial market opportunities for Internet of Things (IoT) lighting.

    After at least two years of internal wrangling and difficult technology choices, the Kirkland, WA-based Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) ratified a means to mesh together Bluetooth beacons, allowing them to hand off instructions to each other. The move effectively boosts Bluetooth’s reach far beyond the 30 ft that is typical for the Bluetooth that consumers commonly use to share things like audio files among smartphone, computers, tables, TVs, and other devices.

    “We just completed a several-year effort of completing a set of specifications that define a standardized approach for creating true industrial-grade mesh networking solutions using Bluetooth technology,” Bluetooth SIG vice president of marketing Ken Kolderup said in a phone interview with LEDs Magazine. “Now there’s a standard way that defines how mesh networking gets done on Bluetooth, so that all the vendors can now create interoperable solutions.”

    While other technologies such as ZigBee, Z-wave, visible light communication, and Power over Ethernet — to name just a few — can support those schemes, many lighting vendors have been counting on Bluetooth. Today’s announcement, which Bluetooth SIG hinted at when it named a Philips manager to its board last week, is welcome news to them.

    Vendors roll out compliant Bluetooth Mesh enablers for solid-state lighting products
    http://www.ledsmagazine.com/articles/2017/07/vendors-roll-out-compliant-bluetooth-mesh-enablers-for-solid-state-lighting-products.html?cmpid=enl_leds_ledsmagazine_2017-07-26

    Qualcomm, Silvair, and Silicon Labs are among the first companies to announce building-block products that are compliant with the recently announced Bluetooth Mesh standard, allowing developers of LED-based products to accelerate wirelessly-connected SSL products to market.

    Silvair Bluetooth Mesh offer

    Silvair made a Bluetooth Mesh software-stack announcement virtually coincident with the SIG press release. The company was deeply involved in the development of the mesh standard and in fact contributed an article to LEDs Magazine covering its pre-standard mesh offering last year.

    Silvair said its Bluetooth Mesh stack is fully compliant. The company is supplying its software stack for now with system-on-chip (SoC) ICs and/or modules with the Bluetooth radio IC supplied by Nordic Semiconductor. The company also offers a Lighting Evaluation Kit that allows SSL product developers to experiment with the Bluetooth capability and speed product design.

    “We are serious about the lighting industry, as we believe connected lighting will pave the way for massive IoT adoption,” said Szymon Slupik, CTO of Silvair and chair of the Mesh Working Group at the Bluetooth SIG. “After more than two years of interoperability testing, and with contributions from the leading software, silicon, and lighting companies, we are certain that Bluetooth mesh networking will be wildly successful.”

    Silicon Labs Bluetooth Mesh offer

    Silicon Labs, meanwhile, will offer its own SoC products along with a compliant Bluetooth Mesh software stack. “We expect to see a wave of new devices hit the market quickly by leveraging ubiquitous Bluetooth connectivity to create hub-less mesh networks that extend the range and reliability of Bluetooth systems,”

    Qualcomm Bluetooth Mesh offer

    Now we turn to Qualcomm, perhaps the most competent company globally in the wireless space — especially in cellular. But Qualcomm has acquired many companies that play in wireless areas outside of the cellular systems for which Qualcomm is most famous. One of those acquisitions was CSR, an early innovator in enabling technologies for Bluetooth-based products.

    Qualcomm has played around the edges of the lighting business, partnering with some companies such as LIFX at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) a few years back. Moreover, Qualcomm partnered with Acuity Brands on an indoor-location-services demonstration based on Bluetooth beacons integrated in SSL products and other places in a commercial space.

    Qualcomm has said its CSRmesh technology is compliant with the new Bluetooth standard. The company has a number of SoC products that are compatible with its Bluetooth Mesh stack. Most include multiple radios including the QCA4020 that supports Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and the IEEE 802.15.4 lower-layer protocol that underlies ZigBee and other low-power Internet Protocol (IP) technologies such as Thread. The QCA 4024 only supports Bluetooth and 802.15.4.

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  10. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Mesh And Bluetooth A Smart Combination
    https://blog.bluetooth.com/bluetooth-and-mesh-smart-combination

    technology roadmap for 2016 and beyond a few months ago, it caused quite a stir. With longer range, faster speed and mesh networking on the map, we could see a complete shift in many verticals including the smart home, industrial automation, location-based services and smart infrastructure.

    Even Junko Yoshida of EE Times said, “Mesh technology is regarded as a key to many Internet of Things applications, especially those that require extended range or peer-to-peer communication.”

    Reply
  11. Tomi Engdahl says:

    An Intro to Bluetooth Mesh
    Posted on July 24, 2017 by Martin Woolley
    Part 1 of the Bluetooth Mesh Networking Series
    https://blog.bluetooth.com/an-intro-to-bluetooth-mesh-part1

    Motivation for Mesh Networking

    Bluetooth mesh networking was created because mesh topologies offer the best way to meet various, increasingly common communications requirements, typified by applications such as building automation and sensor networks. Those requirements include:

    Coverage of very large areas
    “Just works interoperability”
    The ability to monitor and control large numbers of devices
    Optimized, low energy consumption
    Efficient use of radio resources, leading to scalability
    Compatibility with currently available smartphone, tablet and personal computer products
    Industry-standard, government-grade security

    There are other low-power wireless communications technologies which support mesh topologies, but our members often report that these technologies have unacceptable constraints and limitations, and that they are not optimal for the kinds of problems that they are trying to address and the types of products they want to create. Issues in other, comparable technologies, include low data transmission rates, limited numbers of “hops” when relaying data across the mesh, scalability limits often caused by the way radio channels are used and difficulties and delays when following procedures to change the device composition of the mesh network.

    Other mesh technologies are, generally speaking, not supported by standard smartphone, tablet and PC equipment; a major constraint.

    Creating an industry-standard mesh communications technology based on Bluetooth LE, gave the opportunity to meet the requirements, but without the associated limitations and constraints. Interoperability and energy efficiency are the hallmarks of Bluetooth LE after all.

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  12. Tomi Engdahl says:

    EnOcean and Silvair partner on controls for Bluetooth-connected LED lighting
    http://www.setventures.com/enocean-and-silvair-partner-on-controls-for-bluetooth-connected-led-lighting/

    EnOcean is launching wireless switches based on kinetic energy harvesting that will work with emerging Bluetooth Mesh networks and is partnering with Silvair for a low-power network implementation.

    EnOcean and Silvair have announced a partnership focused on LED-based lighting systems that will be connected using the emerging Bluetooth Mesh networking standard. EnOcean is demonstrating new switch products in its EasyFit line at the Smart Lighting conference in Hamburg, Germany that are based on Bluetooth wireless links. And Silvair is supplying EnOcean with a hardware/software network stack to use in such EasyFit products that are powered by kinetic energy harvesting and don’t require batteries.

    EnOcean is a long-time player in simple controls for solid-state lighting (SSL) and other home and commercial automation environments, and has long championed its own wireless connectivity scheme that has been promulgated by the separate EnOcean Alliance.

    Going forward, EnOcean will offer its EasyFit products in both the sub-1-Ghz models and in Bluetooth versions that operate in the 2.4-GHz band. In both cases, the switches and controls can be commissioned using the NFC (near field communication) capability integrated into many mobile phones and tablets.

    EnOcean says the new products will be compatible with products from a number of other vendors. For example, Casambi makes control apps for smart devices and modules that luminaire makers integrate into their products. And EnOcean controls will work seamlessly with such products. Likewise, new Xicato LED light engines that integrate Bluetooth will work with the EnOcean products.

    Silvair has developed a software stack that can be hosted on microcontroller-based Bluetooth ICs from a number of leading vendors such as Texas Instruments. And now EnOcean and Silvair are partners.

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  13. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Bluetooth mesh networking
    https://www.ericsson.com/en/publications/white-papers/bluetooth-mesh-networking

    Conclusion

    Bluetooth mesh is a scalable, short-range IoT technology that provides flexible and robust performance. The Bluetooth Mesh Profile is an essential addition to the Bluetooth ecosystem that enhances the applicability of Bluetooth technology to a wide range of new IoT use cases. Considering the large Bluetooth footprint, it has the potential to be quickly adopted by the market.

    With proper deployment and configuration of relevant parameters of the protocol stack, Bluetooth mesh is able to support the operation of dense networks with thousands of devices. The building automation use case presented in this white paper shows that Bluetooth mesh can live up to high expectations and provide the necessary robustness and service ratio. Furthermore, the network design of Bluetooth mesh is flexible enough to handle the introduction of managed operations on top of flooding, to further optimize behavior and automate the relay selection process.

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  14. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Bluetooth mesh networking could connect smart devices city-wide
    Thousands of intelligent devices can be linked using the network.
    https://www.engadget.com/2017/07/18/bluetooth-mesh-networking-could-connect-smart-devices-city-wide/

    Reply
  15. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Bluetooth mesh networks could give the Industrial IoT a boost
    http://www.businessinsider.com/bluetooth-mesh-networks-industrial-iot-2017-7?r=US&IR=T&IR=T

    Bluetooth mesh networks could be particularly well suited for the industrial IoT (IIoT). Unlike IoT solutions in the utilities and supply chain, devices deployed in the IIoT, such as robots and connected machinery that’s outfitted with sensors all over, produce more data than can be transmitted over low-power standards and protocols like LoRaWan or Narrowband-IoT. But Bluetooth can handle more data than these low-power protocols, and now that it can be extended through mesh standards, it could be good for connecting machinery on a factory floor. And that could allow manufacturers to connect equipment they previously had been unable to, boosting spending in the long run — BI Intelligence estimates that global manufacturers will spend $70 billion annually on IoT solutions in 2021.

    BI Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service, expects that more than 24 billion IoT devices will be installed globally in 2020, and the vast majority of these will fall into the small, low-power category.

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  16. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Nordic Semiconductor – New Development Kit enables developers to embark on Bluetooth mesh designs
    http://www.electropages.com/2017/07/nordic-semiconductor-development-kit-enables-developers-embark-bluetooth-mesh-designs/?utm_campaign=2017-07-28-Electropages&utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_term=article&utm_content=Nordic+Semiconductor+-+New+Development+Kit+enables+developers+to+embark+on+

    Nordic Semiconductor ASA has introduced the “nRF5 SDK for Mesh”, an SDK which allows engineers to develop with Bluetooth mesh. The launch of the SDK coincides with the Bluetooth SIG formal adoption of Bluetooth mesh 1.0.

    The SDK can be downloaded from Nordic’s website and includes the company’s first release of its Bluetooth mesh software protocol (“stack”). The SDK is compatible with the nRF51 and nRF52 Series SOCs, and the S110, S130, and S132 Bluetooth 4.0-compatible SoftDevices . With the nRF5 SDK for Mesh, developers who already have a Nordic nRF52 Development Kit (DK) can immediately start building Bluetooth mesh-based applications.

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  17. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Bluetooth Mesh Bucks Short Range Reputation, Consumer Roots
    http://www.eetimes.com/document.asp?doc_id=1332081&

    Bluetooth Mesh is going to push the connection technology away from consumer applications to commercial and industrial applications, while highlighting its range and low power capabilities.

    “Bluetooth has struggled in reputation if nothing else as people associate it with being shorter range communication,” said Michael McDonald, vice president of Toshiba’s Platform Enabling Group. “We’re very happy with Bluetooth Mesh coming out because it addresses the ability for Bluetooth to go longer ranges.”

    Toshiba recently announced it added Bluetooth Mesh support to its lineup of Bluetooth Low Energy products, including support for a long range option with an external power amplifier. It comes on the heels of the standard meeting by ratified and launched by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG).

    McDonald said the big appeal of the new Bluetooth Mesh standard is it increases the range and reliability of communications without increasing power requirements, making it ideal for battery-operated security devices on doors and windows, particularly where thick concrete walls are in place, which traditionally challenged Bluetooth. “Now we’re taking about being able to go hundreds of meters,” he said.

    Bluetooth was originally a point-to-point connection in many ways, said McDonald. “People used it to sync their cellphone to their car or their cellphone to their Jawbone headpiece,” he said.

    Recently, Bluetooth has also been used in a one-to-many configuration. “That became really important for the beacon market,” McDonald said.

    For industrial IoT and IoT in general to succeed, McDonald said, it’s necessary to have an end-to-end connection where devices are able to talk to other devices — a Bluetooth door sensor communicating with a camera in a security scenario, for example, or bringing up the lighting in a house. “If you can have greater interaction between these devices, that’s when you can start to see some of the magic come out with IoT,” McDonald said.

    Non-proprietary solutions are also important, McDonald said. “People have been trying to create a more robust Bluetooth solution with a fabric capability,” he said. “Solutions up until now have been proprietary solutions.”

    Given the infancy of Bluetooth Mesh, MacDonald said there is a lot of education that needs to be done by the Bluetooth SIG. “There are some nice capabilities that come with Bluetooth Mesh like the ability to do grouping,” he said. “When you are start adding some of these capabilities it adds a level of sophistication to setting up the network.”

    Silicon Labs recently released a suite of software and hardware that supports the new specification, including development tools, a software stack and mobile apps supporting Silicon Labs’ wireless system-on-chip (SoC) devices and certified modules to reduce time to market for developers.

    While the 4.0 Bluetooth standard was driven by the requirements of Apple’s iPhone, Cooley said, it’s moving away from consumer applications where it’s been rooted to commercial and industrial uses because of Bluetooth Mesh. “These are customers that need ROI,” he said.

    Reply
  18. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Mesh to Thrust Bluetooth in Industrial IoT
    Might Bluetooth Mesh Mend IoT Mess?
    http://www.eetimes.com/document.asp?doc_id=1332029

    Mesh Networking is finally coming to Bluetooth as a formally ratified, interoperability- tested global standard, allowing Bluetooth proponents to target a whole new machine-to-machine, industrial Internet of Things (IoT) market that they haven’t been able to crack yet.

    Ken Kolderup, vice president of marketing at the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG), told EE Times the new standard will allow its member companies to “rally and grow their business around such new markets as commercial building automation.”

    Bluetooth mesh is an “industrial-strength” mesh networking technology ideal for commercial building and factory automation, Kolderup explained. It leverages a level of “reliability, scalability and security that aren’t made available by competing mesh technologies,” he added.

    Lee Ratliff, senior principal analyst for connectivity and IoT at IHS Markit, called the SIG’s move for Bluetooth mesh “very significant in the long run.”

    Reply
  19. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Bluetooth Mesh Bucks Short Range Reputation, Consumer Roots
    http://www.eetimes.com/document.asp?doc_id=1332081&

    Bluetooth Mesh is going to push the connection technology away from consumer applications to commercial and industrial applications, while highlighting its range and low power capabilities.

    “Bluetooth has struggled in reputation if nothing else as people associate it with being shorter range communication,” said Michael McDonald, vice president of Toshiba’s Platform Enabling Group. “We’re very happy with Bluetooth Mesh coming out because it addresses the ability for Bluetooth to go longer ranges.”

    Toshiba recently announced it added Bluetooth Mesh support to its lineup of Bluetooth Low Energy products, including support for a long range option with an external power amplifier. It comes on the heels of the standard meeting by ratified and launched by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG).

    Toshiba Bluetooth communication system is capable of link budgets exceeding 100 decibels (dB) with external PA and LNA, which makes it suitable for fast growing markets such as factory automation and building management, as well as communications in consumer products.

    McDonald said the big appeal of the new Bluetooth Mesh standard is it increases the range and reliability of communications without increasing power requirements, making it ideal for battery-operated security devices on doors and windows, particularly where thick concrete walls are in place, which traditionally challenged Bluetooth. “Now we’re taking about being able to go hundreds of meters,” he said.

    Recently, Bluetooth has also been used in a one-to-many configuration. “That became really important for the beacon market,” McDonald said.

    For industrial IoT and IoT in general to succeed, McDonald said, it’s necessary to have an end-to-end connection where devices are able to talk to other devices — a Bluetooth door sensor communicating with a camera in a security scenario, for example, or bringing up the lighting in a house. “If you can have greater interaction between these devices, that’s when you can start to see some of the magic come out with IoT,” McDonald said.

    Non-proprietary solutions are also important

    Given the infancy of Bluetooth Mesh, MacDonald said there is a lot of education that needs to be done by the Bluetooth SIG. “There are some nice capabilities that come with Bluetooth Mesh like the ability to do grouping,” he said. “When you are start adding some of these capabilities it adds a level of sophistication to setting up the network.”

    McDonald said it’s hard to pigeonhole Bluetooth into a particular market because there are so many applications in so many places, but he sees Bluetooth Mesh being particularly valuable in building automation and lighting.

    Silicon Labs recently released a suite of software and hardware that supports the new specification, including development tools, a software stack and mobile apps supporting Silicon Labs’ wireless system-on-chip (SoC) devices and certified modules to reduce time to market for developers.

    Mesh technology brings with it a great deal of complexity in comparison to point to point, said Cooley, regardless of the standard employed, and Silicon Labs has gained a great deal of insight seeing where mesh deployments have failed. “You get something from that complexity at the end of the day,” Cooley said

    Reply
  20. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Competing Mesh systems:

    zigbee
    IEEE 802.15.4-based wireless networking

    Thread
    IPV6-based mesh networking protocol

    Bluetooth Mesh
    Bluetooth LE based mesh networking

    https://www.silabs.com/products/wireless/mesh-networking

    Reply
  21. Tomi Engdahl says:

    5 Things You Must Know About the New Bluetooth 5
    http://www.electronicdesign.com/blog/5-things-you-must-know-about-new-bluetooth-5?code=UM_NN7TT3&utm_rid=CPG05000002750211&utm_campaign=12213&utm_medium=email&elq2=49c083757ae4409d9d7ebabf70a084d5

    How many Bluetooth radios do you own? Answer: More than you probably think. These chips are in your smartphones, cars, laptops, tablets, wireless speakers, headsets, mice, keyboards, game controllers, and others. You may own dozens. Double what you think, since it takes two radios to communicate.

    That’s why Bluetooth is the best-selling wireless technology in the world. Billions of radios have been made and sold. Now Bluetooth is ready to add to that impressive outcome with the announcement of its latest version Bluetooth 5.

    Last month, on December 7, the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) adopted Bluetooth 5 as the latest version of the Bluetooth core specification. Key updates to Bluetooth 5 include longer range, faster speed, and larger broadcast message capacity, as well as improved interoperability and coexistence with other wireless technologies.

    1. Two Bluetooth classes: There are essentially two strains of Bluetooth, the older legacy or classic strain that encompasses versions 1.0 through 3.0 (including EDR). The other strain is the low-energy Bluetooth that includes versions 4.0, 4.1, and 4.2. The low-energy version uses a different radio technology than the classic strain. It employs frequency-hopping spread spectrum (FHSS) over the 2.4- to 2.483-GHz spectrum, but uses 40 2-MHz-wide channels rather than the 79 1-MHz channels of classic Bluetooth. Max data rate is 1 Mb/s. Most of the newer Bluetooth chips actually contain both types of radios.

    2. Bluetooth 5 is an enhancement to the low-energy version: Version 5 bumps the data rate up to 2 Mb/s. It still uses the same GFSK modulation, though. The higher data rate decreases the transmission time of the messages sent to better conserve power. The basic power output level is 0 dBm or 1 mW, but higher-power classes of Bluetooth can also be used. The options are 4, 10, or 20 dBm for extended range.

    3. Extended range: Low-energy Bluetooth has a nominal range of 10 to 30 meters. Bluetooth 5 extends this to the 30- or 50-meter range. Actual range depends entirely on the environment, but longer range means more potential uses.

    4. Greater message capacity: The new version 5 ups the payload capacity of it packets. Data packets can now be in the 31- to 255-octet range, and that means fewer transmissions and less broadcast time.

    5. Interference mitigation: Bluetooth 5 also incorporates features to better minimize interference. Remember Bluetooth shares the 2.4-GHz ISM band with Wi-Fi, ZigBee, and a bunch of other wireless devices

    Reply
  22. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Meshing with Bluetooth
    http://www.electronicdesign.com/embedded-revolution/meshing-bluetooth

    The Bluetooth Special Interest Group has released a standard for Bluetooth mesh. Find out what that means

    Reply
  23. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Wireless mesh networks: Everything you need to know
    There are genuine benefits behind the hype.
    https://www.techhive.com/article/3212444/wi-fi/mesh-network-explained.html

    Mesh networks are resilient, self-configuring, and efficient. You don’t need to mess with them after often minimal work required to set them up, and they provide arguably the best and highest throughput you can achieve in your home. These advantages have led to several startups and existing companies introducing mesh systems contending for the home and small business Wi-Fi networking dollar.

    Mesh networks solve a particular problem: covering a relatively large area, more than about 1,000 square feet on a single floor, or a multi-floor dwelling or office, especially where there’s no ethernet already present to allow easier wired connections of non-mesh Wi-Fi routers and wireless access points. All the current mesh ecosystems also offer simplicity.

    Reply
  24. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Bluetooth Mesh Bucks Short Range Reputation, Consumer Roots
    http://www.eetimes.com/document.asp?doc_id=1332081&

    Reply
  25. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Vendors roll out compliant Bluetooth Mesh enablers for solid-state lighting products
    http://www.ledsmagazine.com/articles/2017/07/vendors-roll-out-compliant-bluetooth-mesh-enablers-for-solid-state-lighting-products.html?eid=293591077&bid=1837145

    Silvair Bluetooth Mesh offer

    Silvair made a Bluetooth Mesh software-stack announcement virtually coincident with the SIG press release. The company was deeply involved in the development of the mesh standard and in fact contributed an article to LEDs Magazine covering its pre-standard mesh offering last year.

    Silvair said its Bluetooth Mesh stack is fully compliant. The company is supplying its software stack for now with system-on-chip (SoC) ICs and/or modules with the Bluetooth radio IC supplied by Nordic Semiconductor. The company also offers a Lighting Evaluation Kit that allows SSL product developers to experiment with the Bluetooth capability and speed product design.

    Silicon Labs Bluetooth Mesh offer

    Silicon Labs, meanwhile, will offer its own SoC products along with a compliant Bluetooth Mesh software stack.
    Developers will have the option of both SoC and module-level products from Silicon Labs.

    Qualcomm Bluetooth Mesh offer

    Now we turn to Qualcomm, perhaps the most competent company globally in the wireless space — especially in cellular. But Qualcomm has acquired many companies that play in wireless areas outside of the cellular systems for which Qualcomm is most famous. One of those acquisitions was CSR, an early innovator in enabling technologies for Bluetooth-based products.

    Qualcomm has played around the edges of the lighting business, partnering with some companies such as LIFX at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) a few years back. Moreover, Qualcomm partnered with Acuity Brands on an indoor-location-services demonstration based on Bluetooth beacons integrated in SSL products and other places in a commercial space.

    Qualcomm has said its CSRmesh technology is compliant with the new Bluetooth standard.

    Reply
  26. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Bluetooth’s range just widened, and IoT lighting companies are thrilled (UPDATED)
    http://www.ledsmagazine.com/articles/2017/07/bluetooth-s-range-just-widened-and-iot-lighting-companies-are-thrilled.html?eid=293591077&bid=1837145

    Some vendors think the brand new “Bluetooth mesh” standard will kick off a commercial smart lighting bonanza.

    The organization that oversees Bluetooth wireless communication protocols at long last issued a standard today that extends Bluetooth’s physical range, a move that could help open commercial and industrial market opportunities for Internet of Things (IoT) lighting.

    “We just completed a several-year effort of completing a set of specifications that define a standardized approach for creating true industrial-grade mesh networking solutions using Bluetooth technology,” Bluetooth SIG vice president of marketing Ken Kolderup said in a phone interview with LEDs Magazine. “Now there’s a standard way that defines how mesh networking gets done on Bluetooth, so that all the vendors can now create interoperable solutions.”

    The mesh standard applies across all possible commercial, industrial, and residential information technology uses. The lighting industry is one group in particular that is welcoming the move. As LEDs has been reporting for some time, mesh could help buoy IoT lighting, making it more likely that smart lights can cover large areas of retail stores, warehouse, commercial offices, and other locations. Smart lights can engage shoppers on retail floors, can track assets and inventory in shops and warehouses, can adjust building management systems or readjust their own light settings, can advise facility managers on how to reassign space, and support many other data-oriented processes.

    While other technologies such as ZigBee, Z-wave, visible light communication, and Power over Ethernet — to name just a few — can support those schemes, many lighting vendors have been counting on Bluetooth. Today’s announcement, which Bluetooth SIG hinted at when it named a Philips manager to its board last week, is welcome news to them.

    “We are extremely excited to see this happen,” Gooee chief technology officer and co-founder Simon Coombes told LEDs. “We’ve been waiting a long time.”

    Gooee provides communication chips and sensors to luminaire makers including Aurora, Feilo Sylvania, and many others. It has been a leading advocate of IoT lighting.

    Reply
  27. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Nordic Beacons and the Bluetooth SIG Mesh
    https://www.beaconzone.co.uk/blog/nordic-beacons-and-the-bluetooth-sig-mesh/

    The same day we posted about the research paper on Bluetooth Mesh networks, the Bluetooth SIG happened to announce the public availability of their Bluetooth Mesh.

    There are lots of marketing articles saying what will be possible and at the other end of the scale, mesh networking specifications that explain how it works. However, to implement these things, we need something in between marketing and specs that works with real hardware.

    Introducing nRF5 SDK for Mesh
    https://devzone.nordicsemi.com/blogs/1147/introducing-nrf5-sdk-for-mesh/

    Reply
  28. Tomi Engdahl says:

    SmartMesh IP Wireless Sensor Network Starter Kit
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oe_J8CJLB8I&index=1&list=PLDglzuv1g_h-Ch5QlzRzj_cRTY-zWnNr1

    SmartMesh IP products are wireless microchips and embedded printed circuit boards, complete with Wireless Sensor Networking software that reliably connects sensors in harsh industrial environments. A critical step in any wireless Industrial Internet of Things (Industrial IoT) development program is to deploy a network to gain confidence that your sensor nodes will communicate reliably in rugged industrial environments and run smoothly over many years of operation. In this video, we introduce the DC9021B SmartMesh IP Starter Kit, which enables you to quickly evaluate network performance, integrate different sensors and accelerate hardware and software integration.

    Reply
  29. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Bluetooth Mesh Drives Security
    https://www.synopsys.com/designware-ip/technical-bulletin/bluetooth-mesh-drives-security-2017q4.html?elq_mid=9452&elq_cid=546544

    Bluetooth-enabled devices have been a target of many documented hacks including Blueprinting, Bluesnarfing, Bluebugging, Bluejacking, Bluesmack and now most recently BlueBorne. BlueBorne intercepts communications in seconds, and subsequently enables hackers to download malicious software without requiring a file download – a frightening thought for consumers using and interacting with smart phones, tablets, wearables, beacons and personal assistants. These Bluetooth-enabled devices transmit and receive private user information that consumers expect to be secure. This article discusses how the introduction of Bluetooth mesh will remedy current vulnerabilities and drive a more secure and private IoT world.

    In July of 2017, the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) introduced Bluetooth mesh networking, continuing its upgrades to Bluetooth 4.2 with low energy technology and Bluetooth 5 specifications. Bluetooth 4.2 added optional security features while Bluetooth 5 added longer distances, better reliability, more data throughput, and faster data rates. Bluetooth mesh allows Bluetooth devices to create a network targeting applications like smart cities and factories.

    As the chart shows, costs are one of the biggest disappointments from 2014 to 2016. Bluetooth’s high level of use contributes to cost reductions, and die size has improved over the past 18 months. Bluetooth’s low memory footprint and small die size make it a perfect technology for chip integration. Battery life is a constant priority and even though other standards like the 802.15.4 technologies use less power than Bluetooth, the difference is minimal and remedied by integration into a single SoC rather than separate chipset implementations.

    However, wireless sensor networks have their own set of security vulnerabilities. Hackers exploit these with node capture attacks, side channel attacks, denial of service attacks, routing attacks, replication attacks, time synchronization attacks, Sybil attacks and more. Upgrades to the Bluetooth Low Energy specifications address these concerns by, for example, making security a requirement in the Bluetooth mesh specification.

    Bluetooth is Pervasive, But is it Secure?

    It’s still common practice for many Bluetooth Low Energy devices to send unencrypted data in peer-to-peer connections. Logically, this unsecured connection is because security is optional in current Bluetooth Low Energy Generic Attributes (GATT) devices. Secondly, developers see extra risk and cost associated with implementing security. If there are limited repercussions to avoiding security, and big hurdles to implementing security, many choose to forgo any security features.

    Bluetooth Mesh Security Requirements and Implementation

    For example, per a security researcher at the DEF CON hacker conference in 2016, “Many Bluetooth Low Energy smart locks can be hacked and opened by unauthorized users, but their manufacturers seem to want to do nothing about it.” Today, Bluetooth mesh requires lock manufacturers to implement proper security features in their devices.

    Bluetooth mesh security uses three types of security keys: Network Keys, AppKeys and Device Keys.

    From a bottoms-up security implementation, many Bluetooth-enabled products will need to begin with a Random Number Generator.

    Reply

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