back to article Bluetooth makes a mesh of itself with new spec

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group has released the spec for Bluetooth Mesh, a many-to-many extension of the technology. Readers are doubtless familiar with Bluetooth's point-to-point connectivity features that enable you to do things like pair a wireless keyboard with a computer. Bluetooth's second application is …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    mesh ?

    so is it the same as the CSR mesh or completely different ?

    might be nice if the new iPhone supports it but with the addition of a general NFC reader in that kit means the only thing I can think of bluetooth 5 being useful for is a IPv6 PAN for health devices...

    apart from asset tracking why would you use bluetooth 5 vs a cheap bluetooth 4.2 controller ?

    1. NIck Hunn

      Re: mesh ?

      Probably best described as "evolved from" CSR mesh, in much the same way as Bluetooth Low Energy evolved from Wibree. It's had multiple tens of man-years of work added in to get to the published spec.

    2. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: mesh ?

      > apart from asset tracking why would you use bluetooth 5 vs a cheap bluetooth 4.2 controller ?

      The article was about Bluetooth Mesh, not Bluetooth 5, but okay... BT 5 has the option of either faster data rates, or of greater range. Useful for remote sensors etc. The Samsung Galaxy S8 already has BT 5 hardware, just as a previous Galaxy model had BT 4 hardware before it was supported by Android. It's better to have the hardware and not need it than to need it and not have it.

  2. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    Sounds like what you'd need if you building a wireless home security system that works

    IE doesn't swallow a mound of batteries on a regular basis and is adequately secure.

    Cautious optimism.

    Light bulbs as the new post offices?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    MANET v2?

    If I recall from when I looked at MANET, the key challenge is the mesh node nearest to an out point. If nodes in the mesh need to communicate outside the mesh, the edge node with the best external connectivity will take a hit in terms of bandwidth and power resources.

    I like the idea of a mesh as it has a fair amount of adaptability and resilience (which is why it shows up in military applications) but you do have to be aware of the specifics. If there's only one node in a position to gateway and you only have battery power, the clock is ticking..

    1. Davidmb

      Re: MANET v2?

      I took the line " only main-powered nodes get the job of relaying messages" to mean that battery-powered devices would not perform the role of gateway, which eases that concern. Makes the mesh sound less useful though...

  4. Infernoz Bronze badge

    Should be really useful for a Local of Things mesh

    e.g. Sensors and control.

    So you could have very cheap, cordless, coin-cell-powered, environment sensors in every room, and be able to monitor them from central device and have distributed displays. Also power control and power use sensing could become a lot cheaper than ridiculously expensive and IP range consuming WiFi versions!

    I hope that the spec. addresses security too, because even sensors could become a security risk.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    O RLY?

    I have no idea how well or poorly BT5 / mesh performs in practice, but I do have some extensive experience with another competing wireless standard implemented along all those same principles as described in the article, and boy do they suck mightily in practice. "Only non-battery nodes route" sounds good until you realise 95% of your network consists of battery powered sensors and portable remotes, all of which sleep all of the time meaning you can never read anything from them when you need a current value, you can never change any parameter because it will take hours or days to propagate, and your "mesh" doesn't even qualify as a daisy-chain because too few mains nodes (so you end up installing wall plugs and such you don't even want, just as relays). Oh and you're never supposed to move those, because that would screw up the routing table, and repairing that takes so long due to all the sleeping and meshing that it tends to get scheduled as an overnight operation that by the way doesn't even happen unless the controlling software stack requests it.

    Of course, as mentioned, none of this is about Bluetooth - it's possible they somehow miraculously managed to avoid all the same pitfalls everyone else keeps being forced into by the laws of physics and constrained power sources. Who knows, maybe it's positively brilliant...

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wait for V2

    Bluetooth Mesh version 1 uses flood routing. As a result performance will be a disaster in a large or dense mesh, or if there are more than occasional packets. It also defines yet another IoT object model, resulting in a closed ecosystem that does not easily allow a mix of wired and wireless networking, or integration with established control systems.

    It has clearly been rushed to launch to compete with more mature solutions such as ZigBee, Thread and Wi-Fi.

    Version 2 is should be adding an IP transport so existing application layers can be used. It also adds routing tables to improve efficiency (although still reverts to flood routing when the routing tables are out of date). That version may be worth using...

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    “beacons” that offer one-to-many links

    " “beacons” that offer one-to-many links and are often used to provide location-dependent services or information"

    I think you mean

    " “beacons” that offer one-to-many links and are often used to spam ads"

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