Making sure Bluetooth 5 keeps its low-power promises

20-12-2016 |   |  By Paul Whytock

A principle operating characteristics for Bluetooth 5 is it must be extremely frugal regarding power consumption. To facilitate this, SIG, the Bluetooth Special Interest Group, has called for low-energy features to be integrated into Bluetooth 5 that are targeted at Internet of Things (IoT) apps.

A specification will be available that quadruples the range of Bluetooth connections by transmitting data multiple times. And it will accommodate transmission speeds of 1 and 2 Mbit/s.

To test this specification German instrumentation specialist Rohde & Schwarz (R&S) has added new software options to its CMW wideband radio communication testers that the company says can now handle all the RF tests needed for Bluetooth 5 development and production, including the new test cases for Bluetooth SIG pre-certification.

The options are activated on R&S CMW testers via license keys and are used to measure power, modulation and adjacent channel power on the transmitter. Receiver measurements can be performed to determine the packet error rate and receiver sensitivity. Manual operation is possible with a variety of settings and parameter adjustments. In addition to these options, the R&S CMW has automation software capable of running remote control RF tests.

The instruments are now able to cover all RF tests defined by Bluetooth SIG, from Bluetooth Basic Rate V1.2 up to the new Bluetooth 5 specification for low energy, claims the company.

Bluetooth is often deployed together with other wireless technologies so it makes sense to use interoperability tests on all supported wireless technologies on these instruments and systems.

R&S says the R&S CMW testers are currently the only products on the market that deliver RF tests on Bluetooth and cellular radio signals such as LTE-A, WCDMA, GSM and CDMA2000, as well as non-cellular radio signals such as WLAN, ZigBee and GNSS.


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By Paul Whytock

Paul Whytock is European Editor for Electropages. He has reported extensively on the electronics industry in Europe, the United States and the Far East for over twenty years. Prior to entering journalism he worked as a design engineer with Ford Motor Company at locations in England, Germany, Holland and Belgium.

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