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In 1999, the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) released Bluetooth 1.0, which soon became a wireless technology standard for exchanging data over short distances (using short-wavelength UHF radio waves in the ISM band from 2.4 to 2.485 GHz) from fixed and mobile devices as well as building personal area networks (PANs).

The original “Bluetooth Classic” connectivity option was especially suited for voice streaming, headphones and streaming sensor applications.

Birth of Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)

In October 2011, Bluetooth Low Energy (formerly marketed as Bluetooth Smart) was released as 4.0 specification. A year later a number of manufacturers began selling Bluetooth Low Energy devices. Windows 8 and 10, Android, BlackBerry, iOS, Linux and macOS now natively support Bluetooth Low Energy.

Bluetooth 5.0 was released in late 2017 and both Apple and Samsung immediately adopted it.

According to its owners (SIG), more than 90 percent of Bluetooth-enabled smartphones support Bluetooth Low Energy.

Why So Popular?

While Bluetooth Classic still exists and has its uses, Bluetooth Low Energy has become the darling of wireless technology. The main reason is energy savings as the name implies.

Bluetooth Low Energy essentially operates in sleep mode and awakens only when a connection is initiated. Consequently, a Bluetooth LE device offers power consumption of microamperes and peak power consumption of only 15-20 mA. This translates to a power savings over Classic Bluetooth of a magnitude 1-5 percent versus Classic Bluetooth devices. Amazingly, Bluetooth Low Energy devices can be powered by a coin cell battery for one to five years.

Additionally, BLE is cheaper, has a faster connection setup speed and more slaves can be attached to the master.

Consequently, Bluetooth Low Energy is ideally suited to connectivity in products that require only periodic transfer of data and not continuous streaming of data. This makes Bluetooth Low Energy suitable to IOT applications such as building automation and lighting.


Learn more about Bluetooth technology with our three-day hands-on Bluetooth Low Energy Training course.

TONEX also offers six different courses in Bluetooth training – over 10 dozen courses in wireless technology altogether.

Contact us with your questions and comments.


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