Bluetooth Mesh

Simulate and analyze throughput and energy usage of Bluetooth mesh networks

Bluetooth® mesh is a networking technology that enables many-to-many communications between distant Bluetooth devices. Also known as Bluetooth mesh networking, it is implemented on top of the Bluetooth Low Energy (LE) variant of Bluetooth. The technology’s routing strategy, called managed flooding, makes routing very robust when individual network nodes fail.

System designers use Bluetooth mesh for applications such as building automation, sensor networks, industrial lighting, smart homes, remote monitoring, and other large-scale Internet of Things (IoT) applications. Designers use Bluetooth mesh because of the following capabilities:

  • Low energy consumption
  • Coverage area extension through multihop communication
  • Excellent network scalability through efficient use of radio resources
  • Coexistence with other wireless standards like Wi-Fi
  • Communications security through authentication and encryption
  • High system reliability through redundant message routes
  • Low network latencies

Model Bluetooth Mesh in MATLAB

The Communications Toolbox™ Library for the Bluetooth® Protocol enables the creation of a Bluetooth mesh network with the Create, Configure, and Visualize Bluetooth LE Mesh Network example. Each network node models several of the Bluetooth mesh protocol layers, pictured in blue in Figure 1. These layers define the following capabilities:

  • Network provisioning
  • Encryption, decryption, and message authentication to enhance security
  • Message segmentation and reassembly
  • Network configuration and management
  • Management of use case scenarios (e.g., lighting control)
Figure 1. Simplified Bluetooth LE protocol stack, including mesh.

Figure 1. Simplified Bluetooth LE protocol stack, including mesh.

Model Bluetooth Mesh Node Types

Devices in a Bluetooth mesh network, also called nodes, can serve different purposes and are given different names. You can use MATLAB® to visualize the energy profile of Bluetooth mesh nodes in wireless sensor networks. Figure 2 shows the interactions between these different node types.

Figure 2.  Interactions of Bluetooth mesh nodes of different types.

Figure 2. Interactions of Bluetooth mesh nodes of different types.

The nodes are described as follows.

  • Relay nodes: Retransmit received messages through multiple hops
  • Proxy nodes: Enable communication between Bluetooth LE devices that do not possess a Bluetooth mesh stack and other nodes in the mesh network
  • Low-power node: Also known as LPNs, nodes that are power constrained can use the low-power feature to minimize the On time of the radio and conserve energy  
  • Friend node: Nodes that do not have any power constraints acting to support LPNs (the relationship between an LPN and a Friend node is called Friendship)

Model Managed Flooding in Bluetooth Mesh Networks

The Bluetooth Mesh Flooding in Wireless Sensor Networks example demonstrates managed flooding. This example enables you to specify node positions and types, to control the degree of flooding, and to visualize the flow of packets from source to destination.

Many mesh networks implement routing mechanisms to optimize message relay. Other networks flood their nodes with relay messages without any consideration of optimal routes. Bluetooth mesh networking uses an approach called managed flooding that includes both these mechanisms. Figure 3 illustrates managed flooding in Bluetooth mesh.

Figure 3.  Managed flooding in Bluetooth mesh.

Figure 3. Managed flooding in Bluetooth mesh.

Figure 3 illustrates communication between a switch and a connected light bulb in a Bluetooth mesh.  Initially, the switch and bulb are in the Off state. Changing the switch to the On state broadcasts a message to turn on the bulb. All the mesh nodes in range of the switch hear the message, but only the green relay nodes retransmit the message until it reaches the bulb. 

See also: wireless communications, OFDM, massive MIMO, RF system, 5G wireless technology, 5G Toolbox, LTE Toolbox, WLAN Toolbox, Communications Toolbox, Phased Array System Toolbox, Communications Toolbox Library for ZigBee and UWB, DVB-S2