by February 1, 2010 0 comments

Bluetooth 4.0 will be contributing to the new generation devices in the year
2010. The hallmark of the standard is low power technology which promises to run
devices on coin-cell batteries for years.  Bluetooth 3.0 standard  released in
April 2009  was focused on providing high speed rate; however it was unable to
convince manufacturers to implement it on devices because of  high power
consumption by application  during data transfer. Bluetooth 4.0 is considered as
an improvement over its predecessors due to lower power consumption, lower cost
of implementation and co-existence with  previous Bluetooth devices.

The all new Bluetooth technology is aimed at smaller integrated devices many
of which run on button cell batteries like watches, remote controls,  etc. It
will allow a whole new range of gadgets like  toys, sports and healthcare
gadgets. Hence you’ll be able to convert your home network into an extended
personal area network controlling various devices remotely from anywhere in the

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 It will allow low power devices to access wide area networks (WLAN,3G and
GSM) via mobile phones which will give rise to enhanced connectivity hence
enabling  new dimension applications in the low battery devices. People will be
able to download bus schedules from bus stops or product information from a
store. Although, being a new technology some new changes will be required for
optimizing low power radio protocol;  it can also be incorporated into existing
Bluetooth technologies which contributes to lower cost of implementation.
Another eye catchy feature of the technology is that it consumes very less power
due to low standby currents as a result of long idle times between active radio
use. Due to low power and higher range, the technology has an ability to extend
the network coverage.

The most widely implemented version of Bluetooth is 2.1+EDR. While Blutooth
4.0 provides similar feature as Bluetooth 2.1+EDR like maximum data transfer
speed of 1Mbps and 100 mts range but at low power consumption.  Bluetooth 3.0,
released last year, in spite of providing data transfer rates comparable to
Wi-Fi, was not accepted by the device manufacturers due to high power
consumption and the bandwidth requirements .

Inside the technology
Some technical details of this technology are:

Dual and single mode operation: Dual mode alternates between high
speed and low power modes. This implementation will find its way into the
consumer devices where the technology already has a strong hold  –mobile phones
and PCs for multiple roles and data storage. Dual mode integrates the
functionality of classic Bluetooth controller resulting into an architecture
using classic Bluetooth technology with low energy functionality and hence
minimizing cost increment. Single mode works for ultra low power uses like
sensors and displays. The single mode implementation is for highly integrated
and compact low power devices and it will feature a lightweight Link Layer
providing ultra-low power idle mode operation, simple device discovery, and
reliable point-to-multi point data transfer with advanced power-save and secure
encrypted connections at the lowest possible cost.

New Bluetooth technology allows small devices to be
connected to various services via mobile phones.

Host control: The host controller is programmed to keep the host
dormant for longer periods and wakes up the host only when there is some action
to perform. This results in saving significant power since host consumes more
power than controller.

Latency: The Bluetooth low energy technology supports connection setup
and data transfer with low latency (3ms) allowing an application to transfer
data in few milliseconds.

Enhanced Data Rate: Enhanced Data Rate is a method of extending the
capacity and types of Bluetooth packets to increase maximum throughput,
providing better support for multiple connections, and lowering power
consumption; while the remainder of the architecture is unchanged. Very short
data packets (8 octet minimum and 27 octet maximum) are transferred at a speed
of 1Mbps with all connections using advanced sniff-subrating to achieve ultra
low duty cycles.

Range: Increased modulation Index provides a range up to 100 meters.

Topology: The Low energy piconet supports any number of devices
limited only by resources of the master and there is virtually no limit on the
number of transports however a LE (low energy) device can belong to only one
piconet at a time.

Market potential
The target domains for Bluetooth 4.0 will be healthcare, sports, and
entertainment. The devices with this technology will be watches which will work
as CLI displays for mobile phones and controllers for various entertainment
devices. In the healthcare arena, new range of wrist-bands for measuring your
jogging speed and pulse rate will  hit world markets soon this year.

Low power consumption of Bluetooth 4.0 will be attracting manufacturers to
make low power wireless and light weight devices. These will be followed by
fitness devices which will be using the handset as a gateway transferring data
to remote service.

Devices and products that will benefit from low power
Bluetooth 4.0 technology giving new definition to mobility

Home and entertainment market is also on the top list of Bluetooth 4.0 target
markets. Remote controls with low power Bluetooth technology will allow usage 
of single remote control with wide range of consumer products. Think, you can
control your TV and air conditioner with the same remote.Since the market of
gaming consoles and controllers is rapidly growing, it has become the hot target
for Bluetooth low power technology. The main use of Bluetooth in gaming is to
connect multiple controllers with a single console. Some of the medical
equipment benefiting from this technology will be  devices like heart rate
monitors, glucose monitors, blood pressure monitors.

Bluetooth 4.0 vs other low power technologies
There are many other low power technologies in the market which are already
being implemented. Zigbee is best known one and Z-Wave, which is widely
implemented in automation devices.

We also see a large range of propriety radios which has already covered a
large area of wireless products market. Although the devices use different
spread spectrum technologies,  the throughput and range is more or less similar.
The difference between these technologies and Bluetooth 4.0 lies in power
management front.

The power consumed by a device widely depends on the speed with which it
wakes up, transfer data and return to sleep.  Another differentiation factor is
ease of implementation. The  Bluetooth 4.0 is expected to quickly get widespread
adoption since the incremental cost and effort for integration in mobile phones
are quite minimal.

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