Blueooth and Internet of things. Whaaat?


When I hear this for the very first time, I though OK these guys just have no clue, but this term comes again and again.

Yesterday Cypress had seminar about their PSoC BLE solutions which I participated and again I heard Internet of Things dozen of times.

C’mon guys how do you connect BLE sensor or device to Internet? -> With computer/gateway connected to Internet.

Then I can connect any sensor with USB or UART to computer and again make it visible to Internet, but I do not call any devices with USB or UART IoT devices!

If one device have no Ethernet or WiFi how does it connect to Internet???

BLE is good, it’s low power 2 to 5 meter wireless device which could even make mesh and this way to extend the range or wireless connectivity, but this is not Internet! So please stop this marketing buzz!

(BLE != IoT) period

20 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. hli
    Mar 26, 2015 @ 15:40:17

    BLE is capable of doing IPv6. Just because router cannot handle it doesn’t mean BLE devices cannot be connected to the internat…


  2. jonsmirl
    Mar 26, 2015 @ 16:11:20

    I’m going to disagree with this too. BLE can do IPv6 but few people run it. I build proxies for my BLE devices in the gateways. The proxies look like an IP device and then forward the requests to the device as needed. They also cache the current sensor value which the remote device updates as it changes.

    Another thing to consider is that you don’t want all of these battery powered sensor nodes running IP continuously since that eats too much power. It makes no sense for a battery temp sensor node to have an open socket waiting for someone to query the temperature – that wastes way too much power/

    So we got things like COAP. But COAP is just a proxy mechanism. Once you get a proxy in the path does it really matter what protocol is run on the final bit? I don’t know of any rules that require the IOT to be pure IP over all links, the info just has to be IP accessible.


    • OLIMEX Ltd
      Mar 26, 2015 @ 16:16:20

      exactly BLE devices are designed to run on battery for years


      • hli
        Mar 26, 2015 @ 16:35:17

        Wait, you are telling me IoT devices should not be connected to the Internet all the time because that eats batteries? I always thought thats exactly what IoT is about?

        I just looked up how “The Internet” is defined:
        “The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to link several billion devices worldwide.” (Wikipedia)

        Nobody says how this is supposed to be connected. For many years I connected my computer to the internet via UART, using a modem. Nobody told me that this was no internet.

        There aren’t that many IoT devices out there that are connected directly to the
        internet. As long as they speak WiFi / WLAN, they need a router in your home. If they speak GSM, they need a GSM base station. Just because your home router doesn’t speak Bluetooth yet (and chances are it doesn’t even know Ipv6) that doesn’t mean its not a valid communications link for IoT devices.

        Just to make this clear: I also don’t like this hype that BLE is the only true way for IoT devices. To me its just _one_ way for IoT, and there are many others (depending on context). Actually I like the idea of being able to use the power-saving mechanism for many battery powered devices (or even using energy harvesting) to connect to each other. And WiFi isn’t the solution you want to use for that.

      • OLIMEX Ltd
        Mar 26, 2015 @ 16:43:46

        please give me link to one working BLE solution with IP6 connection and I will agree with you, all solutions I see is networks with BLE sensors connected to USB-BLE dongle to computer for connection to internet

      • hli
        Mar 26, 2015 @ 16:56:35
        (The whole NRF51 series from Nordic can do this out-of-the-box it seems)
        The IETF draft is here:

      • OLIMEX Ltd
        Mar 26, 2015 @ 17:01:07

        transmission, who receive these packets?

  3. Liam Jackson
    Mar 26, 2015 @ 16:46:38

    I disagree.
    The Internet part of the Internet of things doesn’t mean ethernet or wifi.
    The Internet of things is a concept of connected devices able to use a global network to achieve things they wouldn’t usually. Nowhere in the definition of the Internet does it mention wifi or ethernet “a global computer network providing a variety of information and communication facilities, consisting of interconnected networks using standardized communication protocols.”

    If your uart device is connected to a PC which provides it the ability for it to achieve global connectivity and inter-communication then yes, it is part of the Internet of things.

    BLE enables low cost low power portable sensors and devices, which wifi and ethernet do not, so yes BLE enables the Internet of things. It is a standardised communication protocol so even fits the definition.

    Just because it’s not compatible with your existing gateway (router) doesn’t mean it’s not IoT. You just need a new gateway!


    • OLIMEX Ltd
      Mar 26, 2015 @ 17:02:14

      Internet is based on TCP-IP 🙂 if these devices have no their own IP they are not Internet of Things but just Wireless-Things


      • hli
        Mar 26, 2015 @ 17:05:22

        If the BLE device speaks IPv6 then it has a IP address by definition 🙂 (And speaking IP is basically the only requirement for being part of the Internet)

      • Gkpm
        Mar 26, 2015 @ 17:38:49

        Internet has always, by definition, been a network of networks, it doesn’t matter what each individual network uses for its internal communication as long that network can interconnect to other networks over standard IP Internet Protocol.

      • Lucio De Re
        Mar 27, 2015 @ 10:24:56

        What about IP over carrier-pigeon (RFC 1149 of 1 April 1990)?

    • Michal Mühlpachr
      Mar 26, 2015 @ 23:21:32

      IP Router other IP device on same L2&L1 network segment (same as for Ethernet or Wifi). BTW you can connect IP device through just serial link using e.g. PPP also 😉
      There will be other technologies with various media (L1 technology) soon also, like e.g. Li-Fi


  4. Stupido
    Mar 26, 2015 @ 18:26:04

    малка поправка в първото изречение: препдолагам сте имали в предвид ‘clue’ вместо ‘glue’…



  5. Leon Anavi
    Mar 26, 2015 @ 20:22:31

    In my opinion IoT (just like cloud and web 2.0) is a marketing term for the mass market and as far as I know there are no strict technical specifications 🙂

    Bluetooth is appropriate for wearable devices (call them Internet of Things if you want) which communicate with a smartphone to access Internet. Some interesting IoT projects which rely on Bluetooth are the smart watches and the treasure tags (Nokia was making these gadgets but now I am sad to see that they are under another brand – guess which 😉 ).

    At the moment I don’t see any real working alternatives to WiFi for home or industrial automation where batteries are not required.


  6. SK
    Mar 26, 2015 @ 22:46:35

    What a discussion 🙂 Olimex, you should get ahead of the competition and make a board with Ethernet and BLE radio, to use as a gateway for IPv6 BLE IoT devices 🙂


    • OLIMEX Ltd
      Mar 26, 2015 @ 23:26:19

      I just got interesting tip via twitter! that you can configure bluetooth_6lowpan on OpenWRT so RT5350 could be gateway for BLE IPv6 devices! I didn’t know this


    • Michal Mühlpachr
      Mar 26, 2015 @ 23:26:34

      From kernel 3.17, Linux has supported 6LoWPAN for Bluetooth low energy (BLE) through the new kernel module bluetooth_6lowpan. So devices are here already …


  7. Iliyan ilf Stoyanov (@_ilf_)
    Mar 27, 2016 @ 04:14:00

    Well, Olimex, if you paid more attention three years back, when I pinged you about working together during a hacking session in Borovetz, if memory serves me right, you would have known what is going on with 6LowPAN. Also, if you have paid attention to the quite interesting lecture I gave couple of years back at OpenFest, you would have known this, too. Alas, I moved to pastures new, quite literary, my BLEs, 802.15.4 and LoRaWANs are converged on a single router, and everything is topsy-turvy.

    The problem is that you make top-notch hardware, but you are not very open to new ideas.


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