“BLE and UWB, both are short-range IoT technologies, suitable for indoor positioning and real-time location-based smarthome solutions such as smart lighting, proximity notification, etc.”
In the modern era of technological advancement, we are witnessing technologies like contactless payment, wearable devices, asset tracking, and real-time location systems. In this era of IoT (Internet of Things), two technologies, BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) and UWB(Ultra-Wideband), are emerging as versatile tools. These technologies are popular among tech enthusiasts. These technologies have entered our homes in the shape of smartphones. Nowadays, smartphones are accurate enough to detect our live location, offering stable connectivity between two smartphones for data transfer without interference. Digital payment systems are improved just because of these technologies. Samsung, iPhone, Google, etc. have implemented both BLE and UWB on their smartphones.
What is BLE?
BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) is a wireless communication developed for short-range interaction. It was first introduced as a part of Bluetooth 4.0 in the year of 2010, which focuses on power efficiency. It is also known as “Bluetooth smart.” BLE is similar to Wi-Fi, as it establishes communication between the devices. However, it provides fast data transfer with minimum power consumption. BLE and Bluetooth have the same radio frequency of 2.4 GHz to 2.483.
What is UWB?
UWB (Ultra-Wideband) is also a short-range wireless communication technology. It uses a radio pulse to transmit the data. The transmitted data further helps in locating the UWB-enabled devices. The UWB technology leverages Time-of-Flight (ToF) and Angle-of-Arrival (AoA) to calculate accurate, real time location of other UWB-enabled devices within 10cm accuracy.
The UWB transmitter sends billions of radio pulses at a wide range of frequencies ( 3.1 GHz to 10.6 GHz) and waits for the output of the receivers. The receiver first identifies the similar frequency. Then, the receiver converts the pulses into data. The transmitter generates the pulses in every two nanoseconds to maintain real-time accuracy. UWB is fast and secure to use and consumes less power.
The Differences between BLE and UWB
- 1. BLE is a short-range communication technology. BLE has a transmission range of up to 100 meters.
- 2. UWB extends its distance to locate the devices. UWB operates within a distance of 200 meters.
- 1. BLE works on a moderate data transmission range of 2 Mbps to establish communication between two devices.
- 2. UWB technology offers a higher data transmission rate of up to 1 Gbps.
- 1. The accuracy of BLE beacons is less than 5 meters. The accuracy of the devices can vary according to their specifications and environment.
- 2. UWB provides high accuracy in distances of meters, which makes it suitable for precise location details.
- 1. BLE is a cost-efficient technology compared with UWB.
- 2. UWB is a specialized technology, and UWB can be costly depending on the application requirements.
Advantages and disadvantages of BLE and UWB
Advantages of BLE
- 1. BLE technology has a large number of users, also ensuring smooth connectivity and communication.
- 2. BLE supports high data transferring, and BLE technology can transmit 1 Megabit per second(Mbps), enabling real-time communication.
- 3. It requires minimal hardware support, and the implementation process of BLE is Cheaper than UWB.
Advantage of UWB
- 1. UWB can operate on low power, which helps devices to save their battery life.
- 2. UWB enables fast data transfer and stable communication between two UWB devices.
- 3. UWB pulses have a large bandwidth (3.1 GHz to 10.6 GHz), which prevents UWB-enabled devices from multipath and narrowband interference.
Disadvantages of BLE
- 1. BLE technology is not capable of transferring large files. It also has a slow data transfer speed.
- 2. BLE communication can be interrupted by some external reasons. For example, If any other device is also operating at a similar frequency, it faces interference.
Disadvantage of UWB
- 1. Complex mechanism: Implementation of UWB technology is a complex integration of software or hardware.
- 2. Limited user adoption: UWB technology has a limited number of users, which results in a small ecosystem of compatible devices.
BLE vs. UWB: which is better?
BLE or UWB, which is a better technology, depends upon the requirements of your application. Consider factors such as the advantages and disadvantages of these technologies, the cost of implementation, and the native environment to implement these technologies.
BLE operates in a short-range communication and low power consumption. You can use them for personal or smart home devices. On the other hand, UWB offers high data transfer rates and provides more accurate inter-communication between two UWB devices. UWB is a valuable technology for applications like establishing fast communication and real-time location tracking.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1: Which is more secure?
BLE and UWB have a secured architecture to protect the data, but BLE is more susceptible to vulnerabilities such as spoofing and denial of service attacks. On the other hand, UWB architecture continuously monitors the activities of signal transmission. Architecture manages the incoming and outgoing signals of UWB-enabled devices.
Q2: Which technology is best for RLTS (Real-Time Location Systems)?
UWB technology is one of the popular options for RLTS because it can perform well in precision location tracking. BLE also has the advantage of low power consumption and low-cost implementation. So, the user can select the best technology according to their preferences.
Q3: How many devices can BLE connect to?
A BLE central device can connect up to 20 BLE-enabled devices. However, the limits of connections can be different in some other cases. This limit generally depends upon the BLE technology you are using.