What is BLE?

Concepts and Definitions


Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) is a relatively short-range technology that is universal (works on the same frequency anywhere in the world), very accessible (every smart phone has BLE capability), and it is also for transmitting relatively small amounts of data. It is not the same as Bluetooth. Bluetooth Low Energy is not Bluetooth, but of course they are often easily confused. They are related to each other, but Bluetooth has enough bandwidth that you can send high quality audio over it to your earbuds. BLE is designed for low power devices with small amounts of data. For certain applications where you don’t care that much about range, and/or you want to be able to connect directly to an end user’s smartphone (one example of this is cloudless IoT applications), then BLE is often a good choice because it has that universal accessibility combined with the ultra-low power capability that no other technology really has, meaning you can build battery-powered BLE devices that last for years on a battery. Another place that we would tend to see BLE used is as a secondary wireless technology used on a device that may have a LoRaWAN or a cellular radio on it as its primary communication link, using the BLE wireless device as a way to configure or provision the device (because it can be done using any smartphone). It’s not super common, but it does happen.

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