Bluetooth® Low Energy

Bluetooth® Low Energy (BLE; previously known as Bluetooth Smart) is a reduced-power version of Bluetooth that is optimised for short-burst data transmission.

Like Bluetooth® Classic, Bluetooth® Low Energy uses short-range radio links to create Personal Area Networks (PANs) of multiple devices to allow for the easy transfer of data between them. However, whereas Bluetooth Classic is designed for continuous data streaming (e.g. audio), Bluetooth® Low Energy is optimised for short-burst data transmission. This gives the Low Energy standard a much-reduced power consumption whilst retaining the communication range of the Classic variant. Both Bluetooth standards are controlled by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG).

Bluetooth® Low Energy is widely used in health and sleep monitors, fitness trackers, proximity tags, beacons and many other types of smartphone accessories. It is supported natively by all major smartphone platforms (including Android, Blackberry and iOS) as well as by Windows, Linux and macOS. The vast majority of new smartphones now sold include Bluetooth® Low Energy support.

Single-mode Bluetooth® Low Energy chipsets (i.e. ones that only support Bluetooth® Low Energy) are made by a wide range of different manufacturers and are very competitively priced. Many are optimised to be powered by small coin cell batteries and can give a battery lifetime of a year or more.

Dual-mode chips that support both Bluetooth Classic and Bluetooth® Low Energy are also available from several manufacturers. These have a minimal cost increase over Bluetooth Classic-only parts but offer greater capabilities and flexibility. These parts are used in, for example, wireless speakers and headsets where audio is streamed over the Bluetooth Classic interface while the Low Energy link is used to connect a remote control and to send control and configuration data from a companion smartphone app. The combination of the two Bluetooth variants can also be used in order to support Over-The-Air (OTA) software updates from a wide variety of different host platforms ‐ such as iOS devices and new- and older (pre-BLE) Android devices.

Our Expertise
Kingston Wireless staff have been working with Bluetooth Low Energy for more than a decade. We contributed to the development of the on-chip firmware of one of the first single-mode BLE devices back in 2009. Since then, we have developed a variety of products based solely on Bluetooth Low Energy and have also incorporated BLE support into a large number of dual-mode Bluetooth products such as wireless speakers and TruWireless earbuds.

How We Can Help You
With our in-depth knowledge of the Bluetooth Low Energy protocol and of the Bluetooth industry, we are ideally placed to help you develop the products you want. We can help you analyse your requirements and tailor them to work within the constraints of the Bluetooth specification. We can implement your product design for you and can provide companion apps for Android, iOS, Windows and macOS.

We will make sure that what is delivered will work for you and will work alongside existing Bluetooth systems. We can support our customers through acceptance testing and qualification of the software system.