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6 reasons why startups choose Bluetooth for their projects

Woman jogger and bluetooth running tracker

Short-range communication has gone the distance with Bluetooth.

Bluetooth technology originated in the 1990s, but its primary function was device-to-device (or point-to-point) protocol for securely sharing data between devices in close proximity. Think less music streaming, more wireless printers.

Currently, the wireless connection is often limited to two devices with Bluetooth. Unlike other protocols, Bluetooth was primarily designed for low power consumption, with a short range that’s ideal for small battery-operated mobile devices.

With Bluetooth 5.0, users should see increased speeds and ranges, for instance—but only with the right enabling associated peripherals. Bluetooth 5.0 also offers more connection options outside of the traditional two-device set up of previous versions, allowing for increased applications for Internet of Things projects.

See the pros and cons of the current Bluetooth protocol—and if it’s the best for your current implementation:

Range: The Bluetooth standard is intended to exchange data over short distances, usually between personal mobile devices. It’s great for connecting pairs of Bluetooth devices like smartphones, headsets and peripherals. However, its connectivity quickly fades over distances greater than 10 meters or 30 feet.

Bandwidth: Bluetooth was designed to be a simple way to connect two devices with minimal power consumption. However, the technology is generally much slower and offers less bandwidth than Wi-Fi. For example, Bluetooth is suitable for audio applications but cannot handle the massive bandwidth of streaming video.

Affordability: Bluetooth solutions are generally much less costly than Wi-Fi. A typical Bluetooth transceiver integrated circuit (IC) costs roughly $1, compared to $5-$7 for a Wi-Fi IC.

Power efficiency: Bluetooth was developed with low-power applications in mind. This enables Bluetooth devices to enjoy much longer battery life—from 10 to 100 times longer battery life than in similar devices that use Wi-Fi.

Security: The Bluetooth standard also specifies security protocols that must be implemented in order for devices to establish a secure connection. These include the user acknowledgment of connecting devices via the “pairing” procedure and various options for encrypted data exchange.

Design Effort: Bluetooth, from a hardware perspective, is not as complex as typical Wi-Fi solutions. However, the firmware communications stack requires detailed configuration that can require in-depth knowledge of the Bluetooth stack.

Learn more on how to choose between Wi-Fi and Bluetooth in a startup project as well as the hardware terminology to know, how to work with distributors and more at Hardware Studio—a partnership between Avnet, Dragon Innovation and Kickstarter to help hardware creators get ideas funded and to market.


Editor’s note: A version of this article appeared on Hardware Studio.


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