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Feasibility Evaluation for Embedded Bluetooth Communication, 16-9413

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Principal Investigator
Jennifer L. Alvarez

Inclusive Dates:  07/09/03 - 10/20/03

Background - The purpose of this research was to evaluate Bluetooth technology as a short-range, medium-data rate, wireless communication channel focused on a specific embedded application. In remote sensing, many applications can benefit significantly from the addition of a short-range wireless communication link with a personal computer (PC). A number of existing PC-standard communication protocols are considered for such a link. Recently, the Bluetooth standard has become a popular wireless communication protocol. Many types of Bluetooth products are now available for equipment manufacturers. The products are intended for embedded devices but present significant technical challenges to integration because of the wide variety of hardware and software architectures and the broad range of device sizes, data rates, power requirements, and integration complexities.

Approach - After identifying three possible integration architectures as candidates for implementation in the target-embedded application, we conducted a survey of embeddable Bluetooth products. We evaluated the data rate, power consumption, size, and estimated operational range of each, based on published data. We analyzed candidate Bluetooth technology architectures based on ease of integration into the existing embedded controller design, and we selected the top candidates on which to perform laboratory testing for determining the most appropriate Bluetooth technology for the intended application.

Accomplishments - After evaluating several candidate Bluetooth technologies, we tested and characterized two embeddable modules. We then selected the preferred embedded Bluetooth solution for the target application. A single product had the best performance and the lowest level of integration complexity. This product achieves the desired data throughput while implementing the full Bluetooth serial port profile (SPP). Its form factor and power consumption are not prohibitive, and a clear, robust integration path is provided for both hardware and software implementations.

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