The basics of Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE): Page 3 of 7

October 20, 2016 // By Abhishek Gupta and Imran Mohammed, Cypress Semiconductor
Bluetooth technology has revolutionized wireless communications between devices with its ubiquitous and simple characteristics. It allows devices to communicate without cables while maintaining high levels of security. Because of its low power and low cost, Bluetooth has played a pivotal role in the evolution of applications from high-speed automotive devices to complex medical devices.


The lowest power consumption – Everything from physical design to use models is designed to keep power consumption at a minimum. To reduce power consumption, a BLE device is kept in sleep mode most of the time. When an event occurs, the device wakes and a short message is transferred to a gateway, PC, or smartphone. Maximum/peak power consumption is less than 15 mA and the average power consumption is about 1 μA. The active power consumption is reduced to a tenth of the energy consumption of classic Bluetooth. In low duty cycle applications, a button cell battery could provide 5-10 years of reliable operation.

Cost efficient and compatible – To offer compatibility with classic Bluetooth technology and cost efficiency for small battery-operated devices, there are two chipset types: dual-mode technology with both BLE and classic Bluetooth functionality; stand-alone BLE technology optimized for small battery-operated devices with low cost and low power consumption as their focus.

Robustness, security, and reliability – BLE technology uses the same adaptive frequency hopping (AFH) technology as classic Bluetooth technology. This enables BLE to achieve robust transmission in the ‘noisy’ RF environments found in the home, industrial, and medical applications. To minimize the cost and energy consumption of using AFH, BLE technology has reduced the number of channels to 40 2-MHz wide channels instead of the 79 1-MHz wide channels used with classic Bluetooth technology.

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