What is Bluetooth Mesh Technology?

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- everything RF

Jul 9, 2020

Bluetooth Mesh is a Wireless Mesh Networking technology based on the Bluetooth standard. The technology allows Bluetooth enabled devices (above v4.2) to connect with each other to create a network that can consist of 10s, 100s or 1000s of wirelessly connected devices. The Bluetooth Mesh standard was conceived by the Bluetooth SIG (Special Interest Group) in 2014 and then adopted/published in July 2017.

Bluetooth technology originally did not support mesh networking i.e a single Bluetooth device could talk to only one other Bluetooth device at one time and the communication chain would end there. However, Bluetooth Mesh has changed this, you can now have thousands of devices (up to 32767 theoretically) communicating with each other via Bluetooth technology. Each device in a Bluetooth Mesh Network is called a node and each node can send/receive messages to other nodes on the network enabling the messages to travel large distances wirelessly. This web of nodes can be spread across buildings, factories, office buildings, homes, shopping malls, college campuses, and more.

Bluetooth Mesh Technology operates using the flood network principle. This means that when a node receives a message, it transmits that message to every other node in range except the one from where it got the message. Each node in a Bluetooth Mesh network acts as both a transmitter and a receiver.

Nodes in a Bluetooth Mesh Network

The flooding approach makes Bluetooth mesh networks more reliable than wireless mesh networking technologies. The main advantage of the flooding topology is that there is no need for particular devices to have a special responsibility i.e to act as centralized routers, where the failure of one device could render the entire network inoperable. In the flooding approach, there are generally, multiple paths by which a message can arrive at its destination. This makes Bluetooth Mesh Technology very reliable.

Bluetooth technology has been around for over a decade and has come to be known as a secure, reliable and robust technology. Bluetooth mesh adds another dimension to the technology making it useful for commercial buildings, factory automation, sensor networks, and other IoT applications where tens, hundreds, or thousands of devices need to reliably and securely communicate with one another. This technology can build on the pre-existing Bluetooth ecosystem and thus can very easily become one of the most used wireless mesh technologies used.