Quick and easy transmission of control data under difficult conditions

Bluetooth logo

Bluetooth is a wireless technology that is primarily used in the field of mobile communication and computer accessories. Bluetooth also has excellent features, however, that enable it to be used in industrial automation networks.

Bluetooth has therefore established itself as a communication solution in the field of machine building and systems manufacturing. It is particularly suitable for transferring Ethernet and PROFINET data or I/O signals to mobile or rotating machine parts. Bluetooth is based on the international IEEE 802.15.1 standard and works in the globally accessible 2.4 GHz ISM band.

Easily establish a reliable and robust wireless connection

Bluetooth is characterized by its extremely robust wireless communication, which works reliably even under harsh industrial conditions. This is due to the fact that the data is transferred according to the frequency hopping method, whereby the transmission channel is changed every time data is transferred. This takes place up to 1600 times per second. This channel redundancy with up to 79 transmission channels makes Bluetooth extremely resistant to interference in the frequency band.

This means that Bluetooth can be used to easily establish extremely reliable wireless connections, which are essential for safety communication (PROFIsafe, SafetyBridge, etc.) among other things. The Bluetooth modules from Phoenix Contact simplify things still further by enabling the communication connection to be established with the touch of a button.

Several wireless paths can be operated in parallel

Typical Bluetooth network structures  

Typical Bluetooth network structures

Bluetooth is particularly suitable for small, static wireless network applications with a small number of devices. Typical Bluetooth networks include simple point-to-point applications or small networks in a star topology with a maximum of seven devices.

The technology enables several such applications to be operated in parallel without interference. In this way, Bluetooth is quite different from Wireless LAN; WLAN enables large networks to be set up with several devices, but only a very small number of these networks can be operated in parallel.

Excellent coexistence with WLAN

Both Bluetooth and WLAN work in the 2.4 GHz frequency band. This means that conflicts (interferences) and mutual interference are preprogrammed.

Coexistence between Bluetooth and Wireless LAN  

Good coexistence between Bluetooth and Wireless LAN thanks to AFH and Black Channel List

Bluetooth therefore has a good, automatic coexistence mechanism: Adaptive Frequency Hopping (AFH). AFH reliably detects WLAN systems from media access of 10% to 15% and automatically excludes channels occupied by WLAN.

In order to eliminate interference from the outset and enable efficient frequency planning, up to three channels reserved for WLAN can be manually isolated by the industrial Bluetooth modules from Phoenix Contact. In this case, the Bluetooth modules only transmit data in the unused frequency ranges between the WLAN channels and do not interfere with the WLAN.

Application examples

Bluetooth's areas of application in industrial environments are diverse and on the increase. The growing trend towards remote maintenance of machines and systems in particular requires transparent Ethernet communication with intelligent systems such as controllers or drive control systems on moving machine parts. Since Ethernet cannot simply be transmitted via collector wires, wireless communication is an excellent alternative.

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