Mesh Networking Comes To Bluetooth


"The new mesh capability enables many-to-many device communications and is optimized for creating large-scale device networks", wrote Ken Kolderup of Bluetooth on the company blog.

"By adding support for mesh networking, the Bluetooth member community is continuing a long history of focused innovation to help new, up-and-coming markets flourish", said Mark Powell, executive director for Bluetooth SIG.

Bluetooth SIG is also allowing some mesh devices to act as "proxies", which let other Bluetooth products connect to and control the devices on the mesh network.

For example, the technology is suited for building automation, sensor networks and other potential IoT systems where tens, hundreds, or thousands of devices need to reliably and securely communicate with one another.

"In the same way the connected device market experienced rapid growth after the introduction of Bluetooth Low Energy, we believe Bluetooth mesh networking can play a vital role in helping early stage markets, such as building automation and wireless sensor networks, experience more rapid growth". In this manner, one could use their smartphone to connect to a mesh proxy and, for instance, control smart lights.

"Time and time again it has been shown that markets flourish when multi-vendor interoperability exists", says the SIG.

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"Multi-vendor interoperability is a major factor in determining how fast markets develop", said Russ Sharer, VP Global Marketing and Business Development, Fulham.

Smart-lighting company Silvair is on board.

The developers of Bluetooth have incorporated the short-throw wireless transmission technology into mesh networking.

The mesh technology works on Bluetooth Low Energy, or "LE", which uses short-burst wireless connections on a one-to-one device basis, over a point-to-point network topology referred to in the Bluetooth core spec as a 'piconet'.

The Bluetooth SIG made a point of highlighting industrial grade solutions for building and factory automation, as well as connected/smart lighting as two big areas that can benefit from the new mesh networking support.

The Bluetooth mesh networking specifications, as well as the tools required to qualify Bluetooth products with mesh networking support, are now available at the Bluetooth website. Bluetooth devices become nodes through a provisioning process using a NetKey common to all devices on a specific mesh.