Four Ways to Make Bluetooth Range Go Much, Much Farther

Mon, 07/06/2020 - 15:33

Expectations vs. Reality – Bluetooth Range in the Real World

When designing a network of Bluetooth-enabled devices, a problem often lies in wait that doesn’t reveal itself until late in development. Namely, the stated range of many Bluetooth products is based on ideal conditions in a testing environment, free of the kinds of obstacles and interference that crop up in real-world scenarios. For many RF engineers, this practical eventuality begins a race to squeeze more range out of those devices, largely unaware of all the options available to do so.

In our recent white paper, “Four Approaches for Expanding the Range of Bluetooth,” Mahendra Tailor explains the four options available to Bluetooth engineers when trying to get that extra bit of range to make their design work much better. While most engineers are familiar with the most common approach, which is simply to increase transmit power, there are costs and tradeoffs to this approach – as well as three alternatives that are native to Bluetooth 5 and can provide better performance with less tradeoff.

In this blog post, we’ll talk about those four options, which are:

  • Amplifying the signal
  • Using the long-range feature (Coded PHY) in Bluetooth 5
  • Employing a repeater to relay the signal
  • Utilizing Bluetooth Mesh