There are quite a few wireless connectivity options available in the market. And each one has its advantages as well as disadvantages.
Let me name them: 3G, 4G, 5G, WiFi, Bluetooth. These are commonly used for connecting several electronic devices. There are others whose usage is limited like Lower pan wide area networks (LPWANs), satellite communications and RFID.
At some time, WI-Fi used to be the best connectivity option in enterprises. The reason was that it could be easily extended across large properties or facilities with the help of mesh network systems. Moreover, it was cost-effective and provided good performance. The only thing is that it is most profitable for situations like syncing up a transport fleet.
If we compare it with Mobile connectivity (3G, 4G or 5G), the latter one comes out to be more expensive.
Bluetooth is restricted to the consumer market. It is mostly used for connecting mobile phones to smart devices like wireless audio etc. Most of the portable Bluetooth speakers have inbuilt Bluetooth and permit users to sync their devices to play music and media remotely.
Furthermore, Bluetooth comes with more restrictions than other connectivity options, particularly when it comes to technology’s effective range.
But now Bluetooth is becoming more popular and profitable among the Industrial Internet of Things. It is all because of the advancements in the Bluetooth technology that gave rise to Bluetooth mesh networks and Bluetooth’s Special Interest Group efforts.
Bluetooth is Perfect for Industrial IoT- Why and How?
Bluetooth SIG has forecasted that there will be an incredible 5.2 billion Bluetooth device shipments by 2022. There are several reasons that support Bluetooth being an ideal connectivity option for smart industrial use. Let’s consider them one by one.
Allows you to operate a lot of wireless devices in the same space
Various characteristics of Bluetooth together ensure that you can operate large numbers of devices in close proximity. The short data packages that it has are perfect for industrial measurement and control applications. They spend short time periods on the airwaves.
Moreover, Bluetooth’s automatic power control makes sure that data is broadcasted at the required strength. And both these factors help free up airwaves for other devices. And for IIoT, Bluetooth is optimized to coexist with WiFi.
Bluetooth can easily integrate with existing Industrial systems
In industrial applications, serial ports have a wide use. Bluetooth has a serial port profile and hence, it can easily fit in Industrial designs. The serial port profile imitates a full serial interface, complete with hardware handshaking via Bluetooth.
Ultimately, you can replace the serial cable with a wireless Bluetooth link with either multi-point or point to point operation.
Highly resistant to Interference
Bluetooth uses smart ways to send messages to their destinations. However, it uses a busy 2.4 GHz ISM frequency but easily ensures that all the messages reach their defined destinations. All this happens because of the ability of adaptive frequency hopping.
In this hopping, Individual messages are broken into small data packets that are sent over different channels in a predefined sequence. This sequence is known to the receiving and transmitting devices.
Moreover, around 1600 channel switches can take place in a single second. In case, any data packet does not reach its respective destination in the proper way, such data packets are sent again. If the issue was because of a channel, this is put in light so that it can be avoided in the future.
It can easily identify and solve Bit errors
In environments that are quite noisy or whenever data is transmitted over long distances, there are chances of Bit errors slipping into messages. Bluetooth has the capability of recognizing all these errors and can take the necessary action to avoid these unreliable channels.
Moreover, it has the capability of using Forward error correction. In this correction, Bluetooth can rectify errors once the data reaches the receiver.
You can use Bluetooth at any location in the world
The standard of Bluetooth is vast & is global. It means that you can use the same device anywhere on the planet. You do not need to source different components for industrial facilities in different markets.
Moreover, Bluetooth is quite common in smartphones. Hence, you can interact with Bluetooth enabled IIoT devices with the help of devices you probably own.
Bluetooth is secure enough to transfer crucial data. It has three inbuilt characteristics that make it a trustworthy means of data transfer. The first one is frequency hopping looks at the transmitter sending out data on a pseudo-random sequence of channels.
However, the transmitter and receivers are the only ones who know about these channels. Hence, if someone will try to alter the message, he would require listening on all the channels.
Now, the second inbuilt characteristic is a pairing mechanism that stops in-transit data from being intercepted in man-in-the-middle attacks (LE secure connections).
Moreover, the third inbuilt characteristic is that Bluetooth devices can be set as invisible. It means that hackers would not be able to recognize whether Bluetooth devices are there or not. Hence, connections are only possible between devices that have been paired in the past.
It has an unimaginable range
Many people assume that the Bluetooth technology works at ranges of up to a few meters. But actually Bluetooth has the potential of operating at much larger distances, even in harsh industrial conditions.
Moreover, the latest generation Bluetooth 5 supports long-range mode and it is used to transmit messages up to 1.7 km. There are Mesh networks where data is passed from one node to another until it reaches its destination. They can also help boost range, particularly in dense environments.
I hope that you are now clear about How Bluetooth can be a big option of connectivity in the industrial internet of things. It’s inbuilt security, high resistance towards interference, easy integration with industrial systems and unimaginable range makes it perfect for IIoT.
Various entrepreneurs are approaching IoT development companies to create IoT based apps for their business. The reason is that they very well know the value of IoT based apps. IoT based apps will surely boost their business revenue.