Soon, you would be able to control your smart home devices with the use of Bluetooth. This is what the Bluetooth SIG (Special Interest Group), which controls the Bluetooth standards has promised. This would be possible with the use of Bluetooth Mesh networks which would allow interconnections of various Bluetooth devices transmitting signals simultaneously.
What’s a mesh network you ask? Well, it’s isn’t that difficult to understand. If you have seen a wire mesh, you know how the long and slim metal wires of the mesh Bluetooth with each other. A mesh network is almost like that, only here, there are small radio nodes connected to devices within a large space and these can interact with each other and transmit signals towards different directions within the mesh.
Philips Hue Bulbs are a notable example of a mesh networking controlled setup. The bulbs Bluetooth through wireless mesh networking with the use of Zigbee. In case you don’t know, ZigBee is a wireless networking protocol which allows multiple connections on a mesh network. It is through this mesh networking that the Philips hue bulbs are connected with each other to the Hue Bridge, which in turn has to connect to a wi-fi router through an ethernet cable. All of this becomes significant when the Hue Bulbs are easily controlled through wi-fi on a smartphone with a simple app.
The Bluetooth mesh feature isn’t meant to be used for audio output on several devices though. Unlike other Bluetooth utilizations, which involve playing audio via bluetooth headphones, speakers or your car audio system, the mesh networking feature uses Bluetooth LE (low energy), which is only used for short-burst wireless connections and communications with multiple devices. The Bluetooth mesh could be a decent alternative to the current mesh networking protocols as smartphones already come equipped with the feature, which opens a whole new realm of possibilities. A mesh network of Bluetooth devices would be highly purposeful in many different ways. But at the same time, there’s still a long way to go for Bluetooth to become a preferred standard. The Bluetooth speeds are still nowhere near the capabilities of Wi-Fi networks, so definitely, we are going to see these different wireless standards be in use for a long time.
However, if implemented well, Bluetooth mesh would still be capable of replacing an alternative like ZigBee, which actually requires a hub in order to be easily controlled remotely. A Bluetooth mesh would have the smartphones acting as the bridges for connections which would make it much more efficient.
Another question that rises is whether or not the current Devices equipped with Bluetooth would be able to support this feature. Well, the implementation of the Mesh networking in Bluetooth won’t require any hardware upgrades according to the Bluetooth SIG, which means that the feature could be made available through a simple software update, though that would be possible only on very few devices which could be upgradeable and have a Bluetooth chip of a higher memory.