Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

What is Bluetooth Classic, Bluetooth Low Energy and Bluetooth Dual-Mode Device?

In this modern technological wireless world, from Speakers to Smart Devices Bluetooth has become a part of our daily life. Based on energy consumption and transmission speed all the Bluetooth devices around us are divided into the following types mentioned here.

  1. Bluetooth Classic Device
  2. Bluetooth Low Energy Device
  3. Bluetooth Dual-Mode Device

Bluetooth Classic Device

Most of the Bluetooth Devices are Classic devices. All the speakers fall under either Classic or Dual-Mode Type as High-Quality HD audio data cannot be transferred in Bluetooth Low Energy devices. Bluetooth Classic is ideal for devices like Speakers, Headsets & for calling purposes. Bluetooth Classic Devices has its Advantages and Disadvantages.

Advantages

  1. Classic devices support the transmission of a large amount of data through Bluetooth as Communication Medium.
  2. Classic devices send continuous data with a high transmission speed of up to 2.1 Mbps.
  3. As Classic devices are designed for transmitting continuous data, it is used by speakers for streaming High-Quality HD audio.
  4. Classic Devices are preferred for Calling purposes due to its efficiency in transmitting continuous data.

Disadvantages

  1. A classic device can cover only up to a range of 30 meters.
  2. A classic device can have an active connection only with a maximum of 7 devices thus it’s limited to have only 8 devices in a Piconet (Blueooth Network).
  3. On compared to Bluetooth Low Energy, Classic takes more time to pair & connect. It takes about 100 milliseconds.
  4. The Classic device continues to consume power even when the device is idle.
  5. Compared to a Low Energy device, a Classic device takes more time to send data. It takes about 100 milliseconds.

Bluetooth Low Energy device

Till Bluetooth Version 3.0, improvements to Bluetooth Technology were made only in terms of speed of data transfer through Bluetooth. In Bluetooth 2.0, Basic Rate (BR) was improved to Enhanced Data Rate (EDR). Further in Bluetooth 3.0, the improvement was made from Enhanced Data Rate (EDR) to High Speed (HS).

In Bluetooth 4.0, improvements to Bluetooth start to focus on Power Consumption. Power consumption is an important factor to be considered for Wireless Portable Devices. So in Bluetooth 4.0, Bluetooth Low Energy was introduced in the name of “Bluetooth Smart“. Bluetooth low energy devices are commonly called as LE or BLE devices.

Bluetooth Low Energy is ideal for devices like Smart Bands, Fitness trackers, Security Gadgets like Tiny Finder and Tags, IoT and Home Automation.

Advantages

  1. As the name suggests, Bluetooth Low Energy device consumes very less amount of power.
  2. Due to its nature of less power consumption, Low Energy devices can function up to 1-2 years with a 1000mAH Coin Cell Battery.
  3. Low Energy devices can cover long distances up to a range of 100 meters.
  4. Low Energy device takes less amount of time to get connected. It takes only 6 milliseconds.
  5. Low Energy devices take only 3 milliseconds to transfer data.
  6. Low Energy devices are suitable for IoT applications as it’s capable of forming a Piconet with a minimum of 100 devices.

Disadvantages

  1. Bluetooth Low Energy devices can transmit data only at a rate of 0.3 Mbps.
  2. Bluetooth Low Energy device cannot send continuous data and it can transmit only short bursts of data.

Bluetooth Dual-Mode Device

Dual-Mode devices are formed by implementing BLE functionality on a Classic device. Bluetooth Dual-Mode device was introduced in 4.0 for backward compatibility purposes as many Tablets and Smartphones released at that time won’t support Bluetooth 4.0. This was introduced to make use of the advantages of both Classic & Low-Energy devices.

Products of Beats like Powerbeats 3, Beats Pill+ & many of its other products are Dual-Mode devices. Dual-Mode was implemented in Speakers and Headsets for the following purpose.

  1. The dual-Mode device offers high flexibility as it simultaneously supports both Classic and Low Energy devices.
  2. Dual-Mode allows Speakers and Headsets to get connected to a Smartphone with less latency by making use of BLE functionality.
  3. Dual-Mode allows Speakers and Headsets to stream High-Quality HD audio by making use of Classic functionality.
  4. Dual-Mode increases range of Speakers and Headsets by making use of BLE functionality.

In short, Dual-Mode device acts as a Classic device with Smartphones which have Bluetooth Version below 4.0. In the case of Smartphones with Bluetooth Version 4.0 and above, it initiates connection as a BLE device and streams high-quality audio as a Classic Device. Dual-Mode enriches customer experience by faster Pairing, faster media controls and High-Quality audio.

Android application to get the type of Bluetooth Device

There is an Android application – Bluetooth Devices Info available in the Google Play Store to fetch the list of profiles supported by the Bluetooth device.

Screenshot of Android application displaying the type of Boat Stone 200 as Classic.

Instructions for using the Android Application – Bluetooth Devices Info.
  1. Download and install Bluetooth Devices Info from Google Play Store from this link
  2. Pair and connect the Bluetooth device to the smartphone.
  3. Open the Bluetooth Devices Info Android application.
  4. Select the Bluetooth device from the list of paired Bluetooth devices.
  5. Technical Information on the Bluetooth device is displayed.
  6. Make use of the share button to share the technical information.

How to get Technical Information of a Bluetooth Device

Bluetooth devices have become an integral part of our day to day life. We are using Bluetooth devices like Speaker, Headset, Home Theatre, Keyboard, Mouse in our day to day activities. We started to love Bluetooth devices as it avoids messy physical wires.

Each Bluetooth device has technical information like MAC Address, Profiles supported, UUID. Bluetooth Device’s technical information can be grabbed using an Android Application – Bluetooth Devices Info in Google Play Store.

The Android Application provides essential technical information of a Bluetooth Device like

  • Bluetooth Device Name
  • MAC Address
  • Bluetooth Device Type
  • List of Bluetooth Profiles supported by the Bluetooth Device.
  • List of UUIDs.

Screenshot of the Android application displaying technical details of Boat Stone 200.undefined

  • Bluetooth Device Name
    Name assigned to the Bluetooth device by Manufacturer.
  • MAC Address
    MAC Address is a unique 48-bit address assigned to Bluetooth Device. It is usually represented as a 6-byte hexadecimal address separated by a colon. The first three bytes of MAC address is Organizationally Unique Identifier(OUI) which represents the manufacturer of the Bluetooth Device and the second three bytes of MAC address is assigned by the manufacturer to the Bluetooth Device.

    MAC Address of Boat Stone 200 mentioned above in the screenshot is “FC:58:FA:C8:1D:FC“. The first three bytes “FC:58:FA” represents the organization “Shen Zhen Shi Xin Zhong Xin Technology Co., Ltd.”
  • Bluetooth Device Type
    Bluetooth devices are of three types: Classic, Low Energy (LE) & Dual-Mode. For further information on Bluetooth Device type, read this blog on Bluetooth Device Types.
  • List of Bluetooth Profiles
    Bluetooth Profiles represents the list of compatible features provided by the Bluetooth Device. For further information on Bluetooth Profiles, read this blog on Bluetooth Profiles.
  • UUID
    UUID is a 16-Bit Universally Unique Identifier. This represents the list of services provided and the organization of the Bluetooth Device.
Instructions for using the Android Application – Bluetooth Devices Info.
  1. Download and install Bluetooth Devices Info from Google Play Store from this link
  2. Pair and connect the Bluetooth device to the smartphone.
  3. Open the Bluetooth Devices Info Android application.
  4. Select the Bluetooth device from the list of paired Bluetooth devices.
  5. Technical Information on the Bluetooth device is displayed.
  6. Make use of the share button to share the technical information.