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Communications Input Devices Networking Upgrades

Bluetooth 2016 Roadmap Brings Fourfold Range Increase and Mesh Networking (thestack.com) 29

An anonymous reader writes: The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) has announced its roadmap for Bluetooth Smart in 2016, promising a fourfold range increase in the low-energy, IoT-oriented version of the protocol, along with dedicated mesh networking, a 100% increase in speed and no extra consumption of energy. The last set of upgrades to the protocol offered direct access to the internet and security enhancements. Since Bluetooth must currently contend with attacks on everything from cars to toilets, the increased range means that developers may not be able to rely on 'fleeting contact' as a security feature quite as much.
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Bluetooth 2016 Roadmap Brings Fourfold Range Increase and Mesh Networking

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 12, 2015 @12:06PM (#50915331)

    it's 2015. k thx bye.

  • Has development stalled on those, is everything moving over to Bluetooth LE?
    • by TWX ( 665546 )
      Probably because Bluetooth has a wide install base. USB was slow to take-off too, I remember working on PCs in the 1990s that had it and we referred to it as "UnSupported Bus". Now nearly all external peripherals are USB. Bluetooth was originally for very specific things (like how USB was pretty much limited to keyboards and mice) but has grown in its popularity.

      I would not be surprised if future Bluetooth standards attempt to challenge 802.11 for local wireless in commercial settings where there's on
      • by mlts ( 1038732 )

        I just want to see a way to implement either a file-level sharing (think Samba/CIFS/NFS), or block level sharing (think iSCSI) over BlueTooth. No, it won't be extremely fast, but for computers with no ports on them like the MacBook, tablets, and smartphones, it would give the ability to access mass storage without needing to piggyback onto Wi-Fi.

        This not just would allow drive access, but a backup mechanism that isn't dependant on the cloud, and if done right, decently fast, with security an ingrained part

    • Apple's Fault (Score:4, Informative)

      by monkeyxpress ( 4016725 ) on Thursday November 12, 2015 @01:18PM (#50915829)

      The thing that made Bluetooth LE popular was that Apple let you connect to the phone using it without having to go through their silly control-freak MFI program. Before they did this (I think starting with the iPhone 4) you had to either pay them lots of money, or do something like hack the headphone connector. I don't know why they won't just enable the SPP protocol on classic Bluetooth - its not like they have a whole bunch of accessories they don't want you to compete with - but maybe it is one of those legacy of Jobs' sociopathy things.

      Anyway, that is why LE has become the big wireless interface. I guess the Bluetooth Sig group are trying to capitalise on this situation to expand into the wider IoT (at the moment LE is very very limiting due to the short range). The real question will be whether Apple allows these 4.2 changes to propagate through to their developers, or puts artificial limitations on it (such as the existing LE packet throttling) again.

      • FYI. There are smartphones out there other than iPhones that also supported BLE.. They also happen to to be vastly more numerous. Despite what you might thing, not everything revolves around Apple products.
  • Call me skeptical but I'd love to know how they've managed that short of a major breakthrough in RF transmitter or DSP technology.

    • Probably overunity.

    • Oh, it's BS. (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 12, 2015 @12:39PM (#50915549)

      4x the range is accomplished by running at 1/2 to 1/8th the data rate -- and aside from the astly higher duty cycle due to the lower data rate, the receiver has a much higher DSP workload, driving power consumption per bit even higher.

      Meanwhile, the 3x throughput mode is achieved by significantly decreasing the usable range, though the peak current usage is about the same as the normal 1mbit mode, albeit with 1/2 the duty cycle for the same aamount of data.

      Finally, its mesh solution can best be described as "pray and spray", pretty much incapable of scaling to anything useful int he real world. Their mesh WG seems to believe they can somehow ignore the realities that every other mesh attempt has run into.

      Posting AC because my employer is involved in this shit.

      • Finally, its mesh solution can best be described as "pray and spray", pretty much incapable of scaling to anything useful int he real world. Their mesh WG seems to believe they can somehow ignore the realities that every other mesh attempt has run into.

        Interesting. You seem knowledgeable on this subject. Can you elaborate on the meaning of "pray and spray", and on what some of those challenging "realities" are?

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          (Yikes, I didn't realize I had so many typos in my original post)
          As currently specified, the mesh "solution" is essentially only useful for things like zeroconf/mDNS. All packets are broadcast by every node -- which re-broadcasts what it hears until the TTL drops to zero. This creates broadcast storms, and doesn't scale even on systems that have orders of magnitude more bandwidth than BTLE. They have plans to do a "Store-and-forward" approach wth some sort of network topology awareness, but figuring ou

          • All packets are broadcast by every node -- which re-broadcasts what it hears until the TTL drops to zero. This creates broadcast storms, and doesn't scale even on systems that have orders of magnitude more bandwidth than BTLE.

            Yeesh. I'm no network engineer, but that seems kind of... terrible. Okay, it sounds like this is not a serious solution yet. Thanks for the explanations.

    • I don't know.

      But how is it that DSL and cable speeds keep increasing using the same last mile medium?

      How do some computers run faster than others that use the same hardware?

      Why does the same source code, compiled with different options or compilers perform differently on the same hardware?

      My guess is it is all in the software and optimizations.

      Algorithms and drivers get better as we learn more about real world use cases.

      As standards converge, we don't have to build in a bunch of extra cruft into the softwar

    • by monkeyxpress ( 4016725 ) on Thursday November 12, 2015 @12:55PM (#50915659)

      Call me skeptical but I'd love to know how they've managed that short of a major breakthrough in RF transmitter or DSP technology.

      Bluetooth LE uses a rather basic GFSK radio interface. If they moved to a more spectrally efficient modulation scheme (such as the one regular BT uses) they can improve things significantly. They have also increased the packet size, which will improve the ratio of data to overhead when you are sending larger amounts of data (which is probably not most IoT applications).

      • by serviscope_minor ( 664417 ) on Thursday November 12, 2015 @01:24PM (#50915877) Journal

        Bluetooth LE uses a rather basic GFSK radio interface. If they moved to a more spectrally efficient modulation scheme (such as the one regular BT uses) they can improve things significantly.

        Yeah but the more spectrally efficient ones like QAM are less power efficient. FSK is about the best thing you can do with low power if you don't mind being greedy with the spectrum. And BTLE is a low energy protocol, so it makes sense to prioritise energy use.

  • The idea that someone wants (never mind needs) to be able to control their toilet via an app on their smart phone is kind of full of crap. Bad enough your smart TV reports back home ...
  • still waiting for the ability to connect multiple devices to one transmitter so I can get rid of my IR headphones in the car and home TV.
  • Four times what? Are these ranges measured in the meters, or in miles like LoRa WAN? [medium.com]

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