Bluetooth 5 Mesh extends the range and node network
In July, the Bluetooth SIG announced the addition of Bluetooth Mesh to the new Bluetooth 5.0 specification. Bluetooth mesh networking allows many-to-many (m:m) devices to communicate using a mesh network topology that extends the network range, integrating relay capable nodes in home automation, lighting, and asset tracking applications.
Silicon Labs has over 15 years’ experience in 802.15.4 networking. We’ve shipped more than 100 million mesh devices. Our mesh networking solutions expertise supporting developers and simplifying mesh design with popular ZigBee mesh and Thread wireless mesh protocols provides the expertise to become a trusted adviser in comparing features of Bluetooth mesh for your design requirements.
The Benefits of Mesh Networking
Mesh networking enables many-to-many (m:m) communication. Mesh networks are well suited for creating large-scale node networks, which is ideal for building and smart home automation, asset tracking, and sensor networks. Mesh devices can communicate directly, device-to-device. Bluetooth 4.2, previous specification, using a point-to-point network topology which limits range and device node communication. Star network topology “hub-to-client” involves routing communication through a router or gateway, which prevents a single point-of-failure at the central hub. Mesh networks allow each device to communicate to any device using relay capable nodes.
Mesh networks deployment in lighting systems can simplify management. The extended connectivity range means connected lights can be deployed at a greater distance from a hub versus a star network. As lights are deployed the network range extends, allowing a single gateway to connect a larger area.
Mesh networking provides beacon discovery capabilities. In retail applications, beaconing is used for retail marketing delivering product awareness and collecting consumer buying habits. In asset tracking, beacons can be more easily managed with a mesh network because they are not required to be within range of a phone.
Advantages of Bluetooth Mesh Networking
Here’s a few of the features of Bluetooth and the advantages of Bluetooth 5.0 mesh to consider.
- BLE supports pairing 1:1, broadcasting one-to-many, and many-to-many topologies; Shown in Figure 1.
- Enables cloud connectivity via smart phone and tablets
- Increases network scale and nodes
- Improves reliability with self-healing network protocol
- Lower power transmission between shorter distances
Figure 1. Network Topologies
Getting Started with Bluetooth Mesh
Silicon Labs’ Bluetooth SoCs (ERF32BG13) and Bluetooth modules (BGM11S) developer’s kits can assist designers with Bluetooth 5.0 SDK Mesh development. Our regulatory certified BGM11S and MGM12P mesh modules can accelerate time-to-market and maintain software compatibility with the latest EFR32BG13 Blue Gecko SoCs. With Blue Gecko SoCs, companies can bring products to market that take advantage of the full capabilities of Bluetooth 5 and Bluetooth mesh connectivity and support over-the-air (OTA) updates with on-chip memory.
Silicon Labs' Blue Gecko Bluetooth Wireless Starter Kit provides you with Bluetooth 5 and Bluetooth mesh connectivity with the on-board EFR32BG13 SoC. We also provide developers with a Bluetooth mesh stack for Android, which allows smart phones to provision, configure, and control mesh nodes. And since we provide the mesh stack, customers do not need to write this again, further simplifying development and accelerating time-to-market.
Simplify your mesh design:
Choose a vendor with extensive 802.15.4 mesh networking solutions with a developer’s kits and software development tools to support integration of your design project.
Faster time-to-market: Choose a vendor that offers certified wireless modules to reduce wireless design complexity and regulatory certification delays. Also, look for standalone software compatible SoCs that allow for cost-reduction designs as product volumes increase.
Productivity: Optimize mesh networking device designs with Simplicity Studio, which includes patented network analysis and packet trace technology, energy profiling and visual application configuration. Software and development tools compatibility across our portfolio of wireless SoCs and modules enables broad software reuse and reduced development time and cost.
For more information about Silicon Labs’ Bluetooth mesh development tools and Bluetooth 5.0 mesh software stack (SDK), and wireless starter development kits visit www.silabs.com/bluetooth-mesh.
Bluetooth 5.0 mesh products:
EFR32BG13 Bluetooth Wireless System-on-chip (SoC)
BGM11S – Bluetooth SiP Module
MGM12P – Mesh Module
Bluetooth 5.0 mesh development kits:
SLWSTK6020B Blue Gecko Bluetooth Low Energy Wireless SoC Starter Kit (909-4095)
SLWSTK6101C Blue Gecko Bluetooth® Low Energy SiP Module Wireless Starter Kit