Update: Check out this innovative Real Time Location Bluetooth Low Energy Application built with Symphony Link: www.AirFinder.com

Let’s tell a little (fictitious) Internet of Things, electrical engineering story, shall we? Two friends, both engineers and fitness fanatics, recently opened a business with multiple obstacle courses in the parking lot of an old warehouse. They’re looking to capitalize on the fitness trend while offering a fun outing of tire flips, trampolines, and rope climbs for an afternoon.

But they know a key selling point they’re missing is data. People want to know how far they traveled, top speed, how long it took to complete, and how they did against other top competitors. They know they need a wireless tracking device to place on contestants, so they set out to build it themselves.

Being engineers, they want to know what to expect if they use Bluetooth Low Energy (also know as Bluetoo LE or Bluetooth 4.0) as the wireless technology to send and receive data. Here is the scenario and Bluetooth LE range expectations:

Bluetooth LE Range Calculations:

Antenna: The antenna is installed inside of the block-wall building on the second floor.

Receiver: Data will be transmitted down to the partners in the parking lot, with the receiver one meter off the ground.

    Bluetooth LE
  TX Antenna Height (m)   6
  TX Power (dBm)   4
  TX Antenna Gain (dB)   0
  Frequency (MHz)   2400
  RX Antenna Height (m)   1
  RX Antenna Gain (dB)   -6
  Structure Loss (dB)   11
  Sensitivity (dBm)   -93
  Margin (dB)   20
  Range   77

(Note: 11dB structure loss consistent with propagation through an 8" masonry block wall)

With one antenna on the second floor, the expected Bluetooth Low Energy range is 77 meters. That’s not enough to cover the entire lot. They search for other options beyond Bluetooth 4.0:

Want to learn about what we’re building at Link Labs? Click below to learn about the system with 2594 meters of range (using the same assumptions).


Written by Bob Proctor

Dr. Robert Proctor joined Link Labs as CEO in April 2016. He was a founding investor and advisor to the company from the beginning. Prior to Link Labs, Bob was the Co-Founder of Blu Venture Investors and CEO, Board Director and Investor of FlexEl, LLC. He is the Co-founder, Board Chairman, and Investor of Wiser Together, Inc. and Phase 5 Group, Inc. Bob served as Global Head of Marketing reporting to Chairman and CEO of Corporate Executive Board. He has decades of Senior Executive experience in public companies, including line, staff, and IPO leadership positions. Bob led teams that won corporate-wide awards for Best Business Breakthrough, Managerial Excellence, and Spirit of Generosity. Bob also served as an associate Principal McKinsey & Company, Inc. He holds a Ph.D. in Applied Physics from Cornell University.

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