Many of us – – – –
Well, at least in my case ? ever wondered if Bluetooth Technology is part of the Wi-Fi technology, and why its coverage distance is low…
Let’s starts from the Origin of the name, courtesy of bluetooh.com
For how innovative the technology, the name doesn’t sound techie. It’s not an acronym and doesn’t stand for anything. So what does it mean?
Surprisingly, the name dates back more than a millennium to King Harald “Bluetooth” Gormsson who was well known for two things:
1) Uniting Denmark and Norway in 958.
2) His dead tooth, which was a dark blue/grey color, and earned him the nickname Bluetooth.
Ok… ok cool, but what has to do with technology?
In 1996, three industry leaders, Intel, Ericsson, and Nokia, met to plan the standardization of this short-range radio technology to support connectivity and collaboration between different products and industries.
During this meeting, Jim Kardach from Intel suggested Bluetooth as a temporary code name. Kardach was later quoted as saying, “King Harald Bluetooth…was famous for uniting Scandinavia just as we intended to unite the PC and cellular industries with a short-range wireless link.”
Bluetooth was only intended as a placeholder until marketing could come up with something really cool.
Later, they tried renaming Bluetooth with RadioWire and PAN, but the people were more comfortable using the first “Temporal Name Bluetooth”
Now, let’s talk about the concept of Classic Bluetooth
Bluetooth, it’s a wireless (without wire) industry-standard registered in the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers under IEEE 802.15.1 It’s a short distance energy transmitted by low powered radios, it’s used to exchange data and handle communication between Bluetooth devices. The Bluetooth concept was developed initially to portable devices like; cellphones, headsets, wireless speakers, headphones, but nowadays is almost everywhere.
It’s a short-range because it covers 30 feet or 10 meters, nothing if we compare to Wi-Fi, today, Bluetooth is managed by the Special Interest Group “SIG”
Bluetooth belongs to the 2.4 GHz frequency group, and it operates especially on 2.45 GHz frequency, right between channels 8 and 9.
Bluetooth and Wi-Fi
Site Survey is always required, even if the WLAN has been up and running for a while, the Site Survey could be handy to optimize existing wireless infrastructures.
Let’s think about it, one Bluetooth device.- let’s say a hand-free headset couldn’t affect a WLAN., is it? it is right, a single 802.15.1 couldn’t hurt a well-designed WLAN, but what about a call center? imagine dozens or hundreds of headset per-employee, living in the same spectrum, additionally; policies like BYOD
where users can connect cellphones, laptops, tablets, smartwatches, and any other electronic component will impact in a negative way a bad designed WLAN, for example, 2.4 GHz in North America has only 3 non-overlapping channels 1, 6, 11 (very very limited nowadays) if 802.15.1 operates in channels 8, 9 they will interference with the non-overlapping channels 6, 11, it will decrease the throughput, and increase Wi-Fi retransmissions, this bad phenomenon is also called Adjacent Channel Interference (ACI)
Bluetooth Low Energy
Meraki access points with an integrated Bluetooth Low Energy radio have the ability to transmit BLE Beacons, as well as to scan and locate BLE devices. Client devices like smartphones “hear” the BLE Beacon emitted by a Meraki AP, and an app on the smartphone can respond to a recognized Beacon. BLE scanning allows the Meraki AP to listen for and locate all Bluetooth Low Energy devices. The BLE scanner can hear other Beacons, BLE asset tags, and devices like fitness monitors that communicate using BLE data protocols. Refer here for more information.
BLE uses FHSS, hence in order to capture all BLE beacons, you may require an industrial 2.4 GHz wideband sniffer tuned for BLE.
Please take a look into this post to learn how to capture Bluetooth traffic using a Linux machine.
The following tool helps to capture some BLE beacon frames over the air, it could help if you have an access point or other capable BLE device sending beacons;
BLE Scanner is used by not only developers but also users who are using it to find their lost Fitness Trackers and other Bluetooth Smart Devices. You can download it in Google Play here
BLE Scanner 4.0 designed for Apple devices, you can download it in the Apple Store here