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The Bluetooth Special Interest Group today announced that its Bluetooth technology has been updated with support for mesh networking, designed to create large-scale device networks by connecting multiple Bluetooth devices to one another.

Bluetooth calls these "many-to-many" connections, which can support just a handful of devices or up to thousands. In a home setting, the mesh feature will be useful for connecting smart home devices to one another to establish a network that spans an entire house, with no areas that are out of range.


Mesh networks are an improvement over single-point connections because a Bluetooth signal can be transmitted from device to device, reaching further distances. Some products, like the ZigBee-based Philips Hue line of lights, already use mesh networking techniques that are similar to what's being implemented today.

Bluetooth mesh also has many commercial uses, because it creates a reliable network with no single point of failure, it can scale to support thousands of nodes, it supports multi-vendor interoperability, and it offers industrial-grade security. Bluetooth SIG believes Bluetooth mesh will be essential for commercial building and factory automation.

bluetoothmesh.jpg
"By adding support for mesh networking, the Bluetooth member community is continuing a long history of focused innovation to help new, up-and-coming markets flourish," said Mark Powell, executive director for Bluetooth SIG, Inc. "In the same way the connected device market experienced rapid growth after the introduction of Bluetooth Low Energy, we believe Bluetooth mesh networking can play a vital role in helping early stage markets, such as building automation and wireless sensor networks, experience more rapid growth."
Existing devices that support Bluetooth 4.0 or 5.0 can be updated with support for Bluetooth mesh, but implementing support requires a firmware update.

Bluetooth mesh networking specifications and the tools that qualify Bluetooth products with networking support are available on the Bluetooth Website. Bluetooth SIG told The Verge that it often takes approximately six months for manufacturers to adopt new Bluetooth technology, but mesh could start rolling out sooner because it doesn't require new hardware.

Article Link: Bluetooth LE Standard Gains Mesh Networking for Improved Smart Home Connectivity
 
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Reactions: Michaelgtrusa

jmh600cbr

macrumors 6502a
Feb 14, 2012
969
2,103
Label me ignorant but i always assumed this was happening. I guess my faith is stronger than my literacy o_O
 
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iop

macrumors 6502
Apr 15, 2011
275
227
This looks really interesting. I hope they know how to make it work reliably.
 
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jent

macrumors 6502a
Mar 31, 2010
809
247
Can Tile tracker devices benefit from this or do they not have a way to upgrade firmware?
 
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cariacou

macrumors 6502a
Jul 21, 2010
505
428
This is a great update for bluetooth in general.

I am guessing the main reason to add this was for home automation: to expand the bluetooth HomeKit range and compete better with Zwave devices.
The market had been shifting very heavily to Zwave in the past year or two, and it is pretty late to try to try to regain that market share
 
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patent10021

macrumors 68040
Apr 23, 2004
3,194
559
Multi-peer Connectivity API transfers data via Wifi/Bluetooth with a max of 8 peers including self. This says Bluetooth mesh can scale to support thousands of nodes. If MPC data is transferred via bluetooth then this simply means MPC can now use thousands of devices instead of 8? And therefore Wifi would still be limited to 8?
 
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TheShadowKnows!

macrumors 6502a
Sep 30, 2014
858
1,727
National Capital Region
Just yesterday, I was wondering on how would multi-tenant apartment buildings, with separate security domains, were to de deployed for building-wide automation.

And, this, bluetooth mesh networking apparently addresses that essential protocol/communication infrastructure that seemed to be missing and, thus, enable scale-up of automation for large, multi-tenant facilities.
 
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BuddyTronic

macrumors 65816
Jul 11, 2008
1,311
917
So now we can use bluetooth instead of wifi for multi-room audio? I'm in

I wonder if there are bandwidth challenges for that use case of playing high quality audio through the bluetooth mesh network.

My own information is dated somewhat, but Bluetooth 2.0 I believe had more bandwidth than Bluetooth 4. Of course there might be many flavours of the latest chips, some made to be tiny and frugal on power, and others probably that cost a bit more, but have enough data bandwidth to do what you want with the music.

Anyway - what I say doesn't mean a lot - I just wonder about it - I remember it was a problem a few years ago
 
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superliu

macrumors member
Aug 11, 2010
74
30
Calgary
But Bluetooth is super slow, what kind of network are they hoping to replace? It's too slow for internet, or file transfer.
 
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canucksfan88

macrumors 6502a
Oct 28, 2007
560
63
Wow this is great! Will be interesting to see the bandwidth capabilities of the network though
 
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