What is a Bluetooth Beacon?

Understanding a Bluetooth Beacon

A Bluetooth beacon can be defined as a tiny radio transmitter that conveys a signal to Bluetooth-enabled devices within the range. The signal is a code name that consists of numbers and letters, and it is transmitted at regular intervals of 0.1 second. The Bluetooth Beacon is a very crucial component in the Internet of things and it is widely applied. The beacon is a simple hardware device which comprises three components.

What is a Bluetooth Beacon?

  • Bluetooth Smart connectivity module – This connects the beacon to other devices that have Bluetooth.
  • ARM computer – It has a CPU and an antenna. It broadcasts electromagnetic waves of a certain frequency and length.
  • Batteries – They supply power to the whole circuit.

Protocols of the Beacon

Eddystone

This is a communication channel that is open, and it was developed by Google. The connection is made possible through URLs that Android smartphones scan and then display the content which has been broadcasted.

iBeacon

This is an open protocol that was developed by Apple. It broadcasts content through a BLE network.

Types of Beacon

  • Keychain beacon: it transmits signals to a distance of 25m
  • Indoor beacon: it operates effectively within 80m
  • Pocket beacon: has a range of 50m
  • Outdoor beacon: its BLE network connects Bluetooth devices within 80m outside a building
  • Long range beacon: this is the best public network that broadcasts signals within the longest distance of 300m.

How it works

Bluetooth beacon transmits Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) signals. BLE transfers little spatial data for about ten times per second. The signals broadcast special codes from the beacon to the smartphones within the range of deployment such as a cafe. The smartphone receives a code ID from the beacon then sends it to the cloud server. The server then decodes the message carried by the beacon ID.

The information could be a notification about the change in prices for various dishes or an advertisement for a new appetizing cuisine in a cafe.A beacon is crucial because it connects the online and offline platforms. From offline premises, you convey the necessary information to the server, from where many people can access it online. To activate a beacon, you press an external power button if the batteries are in-built. For other categories such as indoor beacon and outdoor beacon, insert batteries into the gadget.

Features of a Beacon

  • Tx Power

This refers to Transmission Power. It can be described as how far a beacon transmits data, from asnear as 5m to 300m. This is what defines the different types of beacons and their suitable places of deployment.

  • Supported format

Most beacon hardware support both the iBeacon protocol and Eddystone protocol. Some variants come with special formats suchas AltBeacon.

  • Data Packets

A packet is a set of data transmitted at a go. Data packets doesn’t always have to be “data” as name suggests but any kinda of information which is sent-out from one system to other.

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